#Editorial

Together we can kick out polio in The Gambia! 

Mar 23, 2022, 11:56 AM

The Ministry of Health's Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) yesterday ended the second leg of its nationwide polio vaccination. The second is targeting about 95% of children under 5 years.

Therefore, health officials are amplifying their campaign that the surest and safest way to guarantee protection against the deadly virus is vaccination.

 

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.

 

Experts believe the virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (for example, contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine.

However, health officials revealed there is no reported case of the virus yet. But following two environmental samples collected from sewage sites in Banjul and Kotu and which tested positive, it confirmed the presence of poliovirus type two in the country.

With this recent development, there is a need for increased surveillance of polio in the country by intensifying search for other sites to trace any imminent case.

Also, there is a need for timely reporting of polio cases in all health facilities by reporting and investigation of all children under fifteen years.

Polio is a serious health emergency that results in sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in the arms or legs.

In 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched to guide global efforts at polio eradication.

Since then, the once global threatening disease has decreased considerably in many countries.

At this point, we want to thank parents, guardians and caregivers, who made it possible that all children under the age of five years were fully immunised per the country's routine .

We hope the Ministry of Health will work with relevant stakeholders and development partners in confronting the outbreak.

We should bear in mind that in cases of health emergencies, timely and early vaccination is vital. This helps efforts to easily contain or reduce the severity of any disease outbreak. Parents should also cooperate and understand that vaccination is in the best interest of their children and the vaccine is safe.

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