Ghana commended for maintaining polio-free status

independence-arch-ghanaThe Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Poliomyelitis has commended Ghana for maintaining her Polio-free Status for three more years but advised that the country intensified surveillance and develop strategies to sustain the gains. 

Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, the Chairperson of the Africa Regional Certification Commission, at the opening of a five-day ARCC Annual Meeting in Accra, said Ghana had not recorded any cases of wild polio virus at least for the past three years, and has received certification granting her a free status from the disease.

She, however, said some neighbouring countries still had threats of the disease which made it crucial for health systems to maintain strong surveillance to prevent any importation.

Prof. Leke said the ARCC meeting was happening at a time when Nigeria, after two years without any case, reported four wild polio virus cases in three regions which were inaccessible due to the insecurity of the Borno State, resulting in the country being put back into the list of endemic countries.

She said the WHO and GPEI partners considered the new development as a regional outbreak of the Lake Chad Basin countries involving the Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

This, she said, raised a concern of the ARCC members on how to ensure and assess the quality of activities in security compromised and inaccessible areas.

“This should be a lesson learnt for all countries. Countries should update their preparedness and response plans and implement containment activities,” she said.

Prof. Leke said a total of 36 countries had successfully presented their complete documentation to the ARCC, but the Commission reserved the power to call any country following acceptance of their documentation to re-present a complete country record to ensure that they still remained polio free.

She said the meeting would review the complete documentation of Algeria and Cape Verde, while five countries; Ghana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau and Gabon were invited to present their progress reports.

She said the ARCC recognised all the efforts being made in countries and from the GPEI partners to respond to the polio outbreaks in Nigeria and the other Lake Chad Basin countries and called for high quality activities, advocacy and adequate resources to overcome the situation in the African region.

Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa, the WHO Representative in Ghana, said the objective of the meeting included the updating of participants on the status of Polio Eradication Initiative globally and in the African region, and also review and update the draft 2017 ARCC Plan of Action.

It would also discuss the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the last ARCC meeting and select the next group of countries to elaborate and present complete documentation.

He gave a brief background to Ghana’s polio eradication initiative which began in 1996 and has run successfully until the first interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus happened in 2003, after which the country submitted documentations to the ARCC in Brazzaville, Congo in 2007.

Dr Kaluwa said after several interventions to stabilise the situation, the country was hit again with another record case of the wild polio in 2008, but a report was submitted to the ARCC outlining response activities conducted to interrupt the transmission and this was accepted.

Polio eradication efforts has since been quite satisfactory and ongoing with good oral routine vaccination coverage, while poor performing districts were supported with additional funds from the WHO country office to improve surveillance indicators.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.