Sierra Leone hosts regional talks on polio surveillance

A child in west Africa receives polio vaccine. Photo: WHO.

Sierra Leone will host a workshop designed to strengthen surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) and other vaccine preventable disease in West Africa on Tuesday.

The four-day conference aims at harmonising the region’s response to the viral disease which mainly affects children, leading to paralysis, the Africa Review reports.

Among the discussion will be on other vaccine preventable diseases in the region, this according to World Health Organisation.

“The [Freetown] meeting will assess the polio surveillance system in all areas including coordination, planning, monitoring/supervision, the level of knowledge of health workers involved in AFP surveillance, detection and notification of cases, and data management,” the world health agency said in a statement.

Participants at the meeting are mainly immunisation programme managers from nine West African Countries, as well as from WHO headquarters and Regional Office for Africa, the US Centre for Disease Control.

Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are the three countries where wild polio remains persistent.

According to WHO, 36 cases were recorded in 2016 between the three countries.

The organisation says that nationwide AFP surveillance is the gold standard for detecting cases of poliomyelitis as part of the worldwide Eradication Initiative that was launched in 1988.

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