As confirmed polio cases skip from province to province, many are asking how Papua New Guinea has become one of the few countries to buck the international trend of eradicating polio.
The suboptimal properties of existing polio vaccines are among the major reasons why the program has repeatedly missed eradication deadlines.
At least 205,000 children under the age of five years will receive the polio vaccine in a campaign that has begun in Mandera County.
Live strains of poliovirus that are used in the oral poliovirus vaccine can mutate, spread and, in rare cases, even trigger an outbreak, representing a catch-22 in ongoing polio eradication endeavors.
In a meeting with representatives of states and municipalities, the Ministry of Health warned that 312 Brazilian municipalities are covered by vaccines below 50% for poliomyelitis.
Public health experts have worked for months to stamp out the polio virus, but it keeps spreading. It has paralyzed 29 children, and on June 21 a case was reported on the border with Uganda, far outside the known outbreak zone.
The primary requirements for certifying the region as free of poliovirus include the absence of wild polio for a minimum of three consecutive years in all countries of the region, and the presence of high quality certification standard acute flaccid paralysis surveillance in all countries for the preceding three years.
The country’s neighbours need to strengthen their defences against infectious diseases.
There has been a greater than 99.9 per cent drop in the number of cases since 1988, when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched and 1,000 children worldwide were being paralysed by the disease every day.
Kenya’s hopes of being certified as a polio-free country have been dashed after the discovery of live polio viruses in sewage samples from Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.