By NewsDesk   @bactiman63

The global wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case count increased by one this past week as Afghanistan reported its 22nd case of the year.

Image/Robert Herriman

The latest case was reported from Kandahar district.

To date, the number of WPV1 cases reported stands at 113 (Pakistan has reported 91 cases to date), up from 29 this time last year and 33 reported in all of 2018.

The number of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus cases reported this year is now 195 after 16 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases were reported in Angola.

The cases were reported as follows: one each from Benguela, Luanda and Huila provinces, four from Cuanza Sul, five from Huambo and two each from Moxico and Malanje provinces.

Angola has reported 60 cVDPV2 cases this year, the most of any country.

Lastly, Nigeria has achieved the milestones of being three years’ wild polio-free and the African Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication certification will start conducting field verification and reviewing documentation of interruption of wild polio virus (WPV) .

If the ARCC is satisfied with the national documentation and field verification, the WHO African Region could be certified to have eradicated WPV by mid-2020.

However, this great news comes with warnings. At the 37th session of Expert Review Committee (ERC) on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization (RI) in Nigeria this week, Dr Pascal Mkanda, the Coordinator, Polio Eradication Programme at World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Office said, “it is important that the Nigerian government and partners avoid any complacency that could jeopardize Nigeria’s removal from the list of polio-endemic countries and certification of wild polio virus interruption for the African Region”.

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While the ERC concurs with the Nigeria Programme that the transmission of WPV1 is unlikely, experts are calling on government to galvanize partnerships aimed at reaching children in inaccessible areas, having identified that Nigeria’s polio resurgence in August 2016 was largely due to insecurity in the Northeast and waning political commitment. Their collective agreement hinged on the firm belief that interrupting transmission of polio requires systematic processes, focused on reaching children in inaccessible areas, providing timely and adequate resources as well as strengthening RI. The ERC noted rising issues of non-compliance in some communities in Northern Nigeria, especially in Sokoto state.