Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia on excessive alert after Malawi registers polio case

  • Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia will be part of Malawi in a mass supplemental polio vaccination drive.
  • A polio vaccine prices about R2 for nations that procure it by way of the UN Kids’s Fund.
  • The World Well being Organisation says Malawi has the total capability to cope with the outbreak.

The World Well being Organisation (WHO) has put Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia on excessive alert after a wild poliovirus case was detected in Malawi.

The WHO mentioned extra vaccinations for kids beneath the age of 5 in Malawi and neighbouring nations can be administered shortly.

“Malawi has scheduled a mass supplemental polio vaccination response focusing on [children under the age of five], utilizing the Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (BOPV) really useful by [the] WHO and the GPEI (International Polio Eradication Initiative) companions for sort 1, wild poliovirus.

“4 rounds of polio vaccination campaigns are deliberate. All of the neighbouring nations – Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia – have been alerted and are planning to conduct immunisation campaigns as nicely,” the WHO mentioned in an announcement.

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All nations which have eradicated polio used the BOPV to interrupt person-to-person transmission of the virus. It is usually a comparatively low-cost vaccine at R1.92 (US20 cents) for nations that entry it by way of the United Nations Kids’s Fund (Unicef).

The emergence of untamed polio is of grave concern as a result of Africa was declared polio free in August 2020.

The case that was detected in Malawi, in keeping with lab checks, is linked to a pressure that has been circulating in Pakistan’s Sindh province since 2019.

The Malawian authorities, with the assistance of the WHO, has deepened investigations to find out “the extent of the danger” and seek for any additional instances to mount an efficient response. A part of the response entails contact tracing of individuals linked to the younger baby who contracted the virus and the organising of web sites to detect instances in two districts.

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“Environmental surveillance for polioviruses has now been established in six websites in two districts. These embody Lilongwe District, which encompasses the capital Lilongwe the place the preliminary, and up to now the one case, was detected. Different websites are in Blantyre, Mzuzu, and Zomba cities,” the WHO mentioned.

Dr Janet Kayita, the performing WHO consultant in Malawi mentioned they have been absolutely geared up for the problem forward.

“We’ve got all the mandatory instruments and all the mandatory techniques to efficiently cease this outbreak. The bottom line is to optimise operations and now make sure that each baby is reached with the life-saving polio vaccine,” she mentioned.

Malawi declared a wild polio outbreak on 17 February, following affirmation of the virus sort.

It is the primary case of untamed poliovirus in Malawi since 1992.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Basis. The tales produced by way of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that could be contained herein don’t mirror these of the Hanns Seidel Basis.

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