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Published On: Sun, Mar 30th, 2014

Eleven South-East Asia countries certified polio-free: WHO

Eighty percent of the world’s population is now certified as being polio-free with the recent announcement from the World Health Organization certifying the South-East Asia Region Friday.

Image/Chris Zahniser, B.S.N., R.N., M.P.H.

Image/Chris Zahniser, B.S.N., R.N., M.P.H.

This is the fourth of six WHO Regions to be certified polio-free and includes the following 11 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

This region alone accounts for 25 percent of the world’s population.

“This is a momentous victory for the millions of health workers who have worked with governments, nongovernmental organizations, civil society and international partners to eradicate polio from the Region. It is a sign of what we can bequeath our children when we work together,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for the WHO South-East Asia Region.

Before a Region can be certified polio-free, several conditions must be satisfied such as: at least three years of zero confirmed cases due to indigenous wild poliovirus; excellent laboratory-based surveillance for poliovirus; demonstrated capacity to detect, report, and respond to imported cases of poliomyelitis; and assurance of safe containment of polioviruses in laboratories (introduced since 2000).

While celebrating the historic achievement, the WHO Regional Director also sounded a word of caution to maintain high vigilance against importation of polio. “Until polio is globally eradicated, all countries are at risk and the Region’s polio-free status remains fragile. High immunization coverage can prevent an imported virus from finding an underimmunized, susceptible population. A sensitive surveillance system, able to quickly detect and identify any importation and guide a programmatic response, is critical,” she added.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show on http://1380thebiz.com/ Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

Displaying 3 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Mark H says:

    Great news Robert. Polio is one hell of a disease.

  2. […] up able to walk, play and develop who would otherwise have been paralyzed. This World Polio Week is the first in which South East Asia is certified polio-free, and where the entire African continent is on the brink of eradicating this terrible disease. This […]

  3. Diana Truong says:

    This is awesome! We are a step closer to eradicating poverty. Check out The Borgen Project to see how you can help fight global poverty.

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