WHO certifies South Sudan free of polio

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A coach (C) demonstrates at a basketball court in Juba, South Sudan, Nov. 25, 2019. Some are victims of land mines, others of gunshot wounds and some are survivors of polio. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared South Sudan free of the poliovirus.

JUBA, June 20 (Xinhua) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared South Sudan free of the poliovirus.

“South Sudan’s complete documentation for wild polio virus free status has been accepted. With this feat, WHO’s Africa Region is set to be declared wild poliovirus free 2020,” the WHO South Sudan office posted on its official Facebook page Thursday evening.

According to WHO, polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that mainly affects children under five years old. The virus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route and by aerosol droplets.

The UN health agency said South Sudan’s complete documentation for wild polio virus free status was accepted by the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC), an independent body that is mandated to certify the Africa Region to have eradicated poliovirus.

In January, a delegation of the ARCC visited South Sudan to verify the accuracy and depth of the country’s surveillance system and the implementation of the polio eradication program.

During the visit, the team thoroughly reviewed the complete national documentation prepared by the South Sudanese government and it accepted the east African country to be certified polio free, WHO said. ■

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