By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In Liberia, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has issued a statement declaring polio outbreak within the country as a ‘National Public Health Emergency.’
The bold move by the Minister followed after a detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus-2 (cVDPV2) by the National Surveillance System, which has spread throughout the Country from two different environmental sites in Monrovia.
This is the first polio outbreak since 2008 in Liberia.
The detection of these isolated viruses in Monrovia have spread throughout the Country. Experience from other countries in Africa and around the world had shown that responding as soon as the virus is detected in an environment, swift intervention is needed to curtail its further spread.
As a result, the Ministry on February 4, 2021, declared the virus sporadic outbreak as a National Health Emergency.
“In line with WHO and the communities for Polio and the International Health Regulation of 2005, recommendations as that in such a case, action supposed to be taken to curtail its further spread; therefore, I am officially declaring this event as a National Public Health Emergency. This means that number one, we have to continue to monitor the situation within the Country; and the second, most important thing we have to do is to interrupt the spread of this polio virus and go back to try and eradicate it,” she declared.
Under the National Polio Emergency, Minister Jallah declared immediate measures that include door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in every community across the Country; monitoring the situation within the country to beef up the fight against polio.
In remarks at a news conference on February 4, 2021, the Minister of Health promised that her administration would move with deliberate speed in ensuring that children from zero to fifty-nine-month old are vaccinated and registered for national birth certification.
“This exercise will be a door-to-door because we do not have to miss any child. We will be going from door-to-door making sure that each child is vaccinated in your home. There will be a lot more coverage on it so you can know when we coming and who will be coming to your homes. Coupled with that exercise, we want to make sure that children births are registered. So this will us be the opportunity to be able to register all of the children and make sure that they have birth certificates. So two things that will be done: we will make sure kids are protected and vaccinated, and then we will make sure that the birth is registered.”
Dr Jallah urged all Liberians, babies’ mothers as well as local and international stakeholders to work with the Ministry to defeat the spread of the virus in the Country.
“This virus being circulating within the public about a year so we are ready to move things forward quickly to protected the Children. So therefore, all of our teams are ready and we want to bring it to the public officially to let them know that this virus is in the country and the action that will be taken going forward,” she concluded.