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Polio Eradication-Regional Certification Commission Concludes Meeting with far-Reaching Recommendations for Countries

We also urge all countries to strengthen surveillance at the sub-national level, including in areas of insecurity and at-risk populations, to strengthen the immunity of populations through a more robust routine vaccination and the quality

The Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) has concluded a 5-day meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, with specific and general recommendations to be transmitted to each country for implementation towards polio eradication in the continent.

The Chair of ARCC Professor Rose Leke on 22 June in Abuja requested strict adherence to the Commission’s recommendation by all countries in order to rid Africa of the debilitating disease in the shortest possible time.

“The ARCC noted with satisfaction the firm commitment made to maintain the high performance achieved so far, to further strengthen surveillance and to raise immunization coverages, especially in areas with insecurity and to reach a level consistent with the countries of the Region for the health and well-being of the people.

We also urge all countries to strengthen surveillance at the sub-national level, including in areas of insecurity and at-risk populations, to strengthen the immunity of populations through a more robust routine vaccination and the quality of vaccination campaigns against polio, to accelerate the certification of the African Region freed from polio”, Professor Leke said.

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In conclusion, she appreciated Nigeria for hosting the meeting. “ARCC chose to host the meeting in Nigeria to see the efforts and progress made in polio eradication, and to make a plea to the higher authorities for an even stronger political commitment for high quality AFP surveillance, better supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs), and an improved routine immunization” she said.

The open and in-depth discussions during closed meeting sessions with each of the nine invited countries will allow them to reinforce ongoing efforts to further improve the quality of surveillance and routine immunization, including in populations that are mobile, difficult to access, and areas with insecurity.

The Commission accepted the complete documentation of Madagascar, supporting polio-free status of the country. Progress/update reports from countries with surveillance and immunization challenges including Angola, Central Africa Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Kenya and Nigeria were reviewed with specific recommendations made for efforts towards polio eradication.

For his part, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu the World Health Organization Country Representative (WR) to Nigeria said, “Global Polio Eradication Partners in Nigeria are pleased with the recommendations as they will allow us to provide a more focused support to government towards polio eradication. As development partners, we will redouble our efforts to support government to finish the unfinished business of polio eradication”, WR pledged.

Closing the meeting, the Minister of Health, represented by Dr Dorothy Nwodo confirmed Nigeria’s commitment towards interrupting polio transmission in the shortest time possible.

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