Somalia declared polio-free country

Published: October 24, 2015

Somalia declared polio-free countryWorld Health Organization (WHO) has declared Somalia a polio-free country, meaning that it will be removed from the list of polio endemic nations.
The announcement made on 22 October, 2015 came after an Outbreak Assessment Team (comprised of experts from WHO, UNICEF, the Centres for Disease Control, CORE group and Rotary) conducted an in-depth review of the polio outbreak response in Somalia in October 2015.
“The tireless efforts of national authorities and their partners in stopping the outbreak is commendable. Our deepest tributes and appreciations go to the field staff who delivered the results in spite of huge challenges in Somalia,” said Dr. Ghulam Popal, WHO Somalia Representative.
In August, Somalia celebrated a year without a recorded Polio case.
Somalia was polio-free for 6 years. A new outbreak started in April 2013 after an importation with 194 cases reported in 2013. Despite achieving polio-free status, Somalia has had sustained circulation of vaccine-derived polioviruses since 2009 due to low routine immunization coverage rates and lack of supplementary immunization activities in insecure areas.
Global health experts are hoping polio can become only the second human infectious disease to be eradicated, after smallpox.
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