Chasing polio away
With South Sudan being declared wild poliovirus free, the virus is eradicated from the continent
South Sudan has joined the group of countries which can proudly say they are free of the wild poliovirus. Already in June 2018, the African Regional Certification Commission for poliomyelitis eradication (ARCC) accepted the complete documentation for South Sudan supporting the claim of being wild poliovirus free.
The last known case of indigenous wild poliovirus transmission in South Sudan occurred in June 2009.
Becoming polio-free would not be possible without the polio vaccine, which was introduced in the 1950s.
The introduction of the vaccine in industrialized countries in the 1950s and 1950s, polio was brought under control in these countries but remained unaddressed in developing countries.
In 1985, Rotary INternational launced a global effort to immunize the world's children against polio
1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was established.
1998: Polio immunization efforts started in Sudan, which South Sudan was part of at that time
Since then, many children have received the protecting drops and had their fingers painted with ink.
But the fight is not over. The wild poliovirus can still be imported from endemic countries. Therefore, to continue to protect children's lives from the virus, continued immunization efforts are needed to maintain the herd immunity. Furthermore, the polio surveillance must be maintained till all countries in the world are declared free of the wild poliovirus.
Getting to the wild poliofree status is, hands down, a true team effort. Rotary and Gavi have been instrumental in making this happening and we know many governments and individuals have donated to these organizations. WHO has been UNICEF's main partner within the UN.
But most of all, we are grateful to the many health workers and vaccinators who have walked long distances under difficult conditions to immunize children.