In 2021, five total wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the last two endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan with one case and four cases reported, respectively.
This compares to 84 cases reported in Pakistan and 56 reported in Afghanistan in 2020.
These are such encouraging numbers and are the result of a lot of hard work in the region. It has also raised a lot of talk of eradication.
In Pakistan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan has said that Pakistan is nearing to eradicate the polio.
“The country has extremely improved its polio surveillance and controlled the virus with a best strategy”, he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed that eradication of Polio from Pakistan remains a key priority of the government and efforts are underway to intensify the anti-Polio campaign across the country.
In Afghanistan, UNICEF spokesman in Afghanistan, Kamal Shah Sayed said, “If we succeed to implement the planned polio campaigns with high coverage of 95%, we can interrupt the circulation of polio virus by the end of 2022”.
In addition, the Taliban lifted the ban on house-to-house polio vaccination.
Beside global WPV1, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) remains a problem, particularly in Africa where hundreds of cases were reported.
In 2021 overall, 14 cases of AFP caused by cVDPV1 were reported by Madagascar (11) and Yemen (3). In addition, 575 cases of AFP caused by cVDPV2 were reported from 20 countries: Nigeria (388), Afghanistan (43), Tajikistan (32), Democratic Republic of the Congo (19), Senegal (17), Ethiopia (10), Niger (10), Yemen (10), South Sudan (9), Pakistan (8), Guinea (6), Sierra Leone (5), Benin (3), Cameroon (3), Guinea-Bissau (3) Liberia (3), Burkina Faso (2), Congo (2), Somalia (1) and Ukraine (1).