Africa on verge of being certified polio-free – WHO

World Health Organisation (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Copyright : WHO/Pierre Virot
World Health Organisation (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Copyright : WHO/Pierre Virot

The African Region is on the verge of being certified free of wild poliovirus, Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, has said.

Ms Moeti disclosed this on Tuesday at the ongoing virtual World Health Assembly 2020 in Geneva.

This is the first time the assembly, which is WHO’s main governing body, will convene virtually since the pandemic began.

According to her, the development is a major public health milestone in Africa.

The regional director, however, called for continued support to make healthcare a reality for every African.

On COVID-19, Moeti said the pandemic had reached every member state, and that over half of the countries had community transmission of the virus.

“Much has been said about the weaknesses of African health systems, and many African communities are very vulnerable because of socio-economic determinants

“Governments are working day and night; WHO and partners like Africa Centre for Disease Control are supporting them to saves lives.

“Global solidarity is urgently needed to address shortages of test kits across the region and ensure equitable access,” she said.

Ms Moeti said the office had repurposed more than 900 regional and country office staff and deployed 100 international experts to curb the spread of the virus.

Besides, Ms Moeti said the office was working with governments and partners to establish humanitarian corridors to provide additional support and supplies, adding that the assistance had helped to mobilise over 300 million dollars for public health actions.

“We are coordinating the plan with other UN agencies and partners to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19

“As we fight this pandemic, we cannot lose sight of other priorities,’’ she said.

The two-day World Health Assembly is to stop the spread of the COVID-19; map out easing of the stay-at-home and



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