Khartoum, 26 October 2019 - The Government of Sudan in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF), and other health partners supporting the national polio program in Sudan marked World Polio week 2019 and the declaration of the global eradication of poliovirus- type 3 strain.
The celebrations involved a series of awareness raising activities and emphasized the importance of the continued support by the international community to eradicate the remaining Type -1 virus.
“The Government of Sudan, WHO, UNICEF and all partners have achieved a milestone success in keeping the country free of polio and protecting our children against this crippling and fatal infectious disease,” said Dr. Akram Ali Altoum, Federal Minister of Health in Sudan. “We need to continue advocating for a strong routine immunization program in Sudan. We hold ourselves and our community members accountable for maintaining polio- free Sudan,” he added.
Sudan has not reported any polio cases since March 2009 and was announced polio-free in 2015 by the Regional Certification Committee of WHO. Over 95 percent of children are reached with polio vaccine, thanks to the strong collaboration between the Federal and State Ministries of health, partners, and the generous support from donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Vaccine Alliance GAVI, the Department for International Development (DFID)- United Kingdom, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
“The world can only overcome the final hurdles to completely eradicate polio if the present strategies put to reach and vaccinate children everywhere in the world receive sufficient resources and commitments from governments, donors, multilateral organizations and local communities,” said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative in Sudan. “The eradication of polio is a global endeavor and to succeed, we should leave no child behind. Every target child must be immunized until this deadly disease is eradicated and the whole world is polio-free,” she added.
“Awareness of the community and their active engagement is critical to eradicate polio and sustain the gains made so far,” said Mr. Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Sudan Country Representative. “During this critical time we should not forget about the children living in areas inaccessible since 2011, peace is crucial as it will let us reach those children in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state and Blue Nile state under the control of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).” he added.
Despite the successes, challenges remain and require innovative approaches to regain the world momentum toward the full eradication of polio and maintaining the routine immunization coverage to eliminate the conditions for the virus to regain strength and spread.
WHO, UNICEF and non-governmental health partners in Sudan will continue to support the Ministry of Health to maintain sensitivity of surveillance and increase vaccination coverage in the country.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child and is committed to the children of Sudan. We never give up on finding solutions that provide immediate help to save the lives of children or provide durable support so that those children grow up with dignity, health and an education.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.
WHO is a specialized public health organization mandated to provide the most reliable and evidence-based technical assistance, strategic and operational guidance to countries worldwide.
WHO works closely with Sudan’s Ministry of Health and related sectors on daily bases to identify priorities and guide the health sector on preparedness, effective and efficient response to health and health care requirements.