Thursday, June 25, 2015

Equatorial Guinea is Polio-Free, International Health Experts Report

Independent experts from several different organizations have declared the central African country to be free of the wild poliovirus, which causes poliomyelitis.

The experts, from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, arrived in Equatorial Guinea on June 4 to assess the county’s efforts to stem the spread of poliomyelitis.

The disease entered the country from Cameroon in the first quarter of 2015, and international laboratories had confirmed five cases. The government of Equatorial Guinea quickly declared the polio epidemic a national public health emergency and launched eight campaigns to educate and immunize the population and conduct epidemiological surveillance and research. In the process, the country’s systems for epidemiological surveillance and routine vaccinations were strengthened.

On May 14, during the relaunching of the National Vaccination Campaign against Poliomyelitis, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Juan Ndong Nguema, stressed the importance that the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea gives to the health sector, as cornerstone of human development.

The World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory reported that Equatorial Guinea spends more per capita on health and healthcare that any other country in Africa, a total of USD 555 in 2013.