by Juanita Nonwo – EM TV Online
Never before in the history of polio have so few children in so few countries contracted the crippling virus – but we cannot rest until the number of cases is zero, this was the message from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on the eve of World Polio Day today.
Caused by the poliovirus, this potentially deadly and infectious disease can be contracted through person to person.
A person who is infected with the virus is vulnerable to being paralysed as it can invade and infect the person’s brain and spinal cord resulting in paralysis which can lead to sever disability and death.
Polio vaccines through Immunisation is highly a great way to prevent children from contracting this killer disease, as it helps their bodies to build the right protection to fight against the polio virus.
“We aim to bring a global halt to polio transmission… but the only way to do this is for countries with low vaccination dates to re-double their efforts to reach every child, wherever they are and no matter how hard this may be,” stated UNICEF’s head of the Polio Unit, Peter Crowley.
The Papua New Guinean Government in line with the United Nations’ World Health Organisation has taken a huge and an important step forward in a global effort to eradicate polio and measles – to prevent the reappearance of the diseases, by launching the introduction of injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and Measles Rubella Vaccine (MR) into the country’s routine immunisation program.
“Vaccination is the most cost effective and safest intervention for preventable diseases and WHO is committed to supporting the immunization program and overall health in Papua New Guinea,” said Dr Van Maaren, the WHO Representative to Papua New Guinea.
Although Papua New Guinea has successfully become a polio-free country since 2009, there are possibilities of the disease being imported from other countries that have it, placing the country’s health system in question.
“The Introduction of IPV is the result of significant progress for our country and the world against polio. It means we are another step closer to ridding the world of this terrible disease, and we are on a path to provide the best possible protection against this virus to all” commented PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.