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WHO, UNICEF declare end of polio in the Philippines

Photo courtesy of WHO

The World Health Organization and UNICEF declared that the Philippines has commendably triumphed over its battle against polio outbreak.

The outbreak of the contagious disease started two years ago.

The two organizations said that there were no new polio cases detected in the last 16 months.

In a statement, WHO Philippines said: “The DOH officially concluded the polio outbreak response on 3 June 2021. The decision came as the virus has not been detected in a child or in the environment in the past 16 months and is a result of comprehensive outbreak response actions including intensified immunization and surveillance activities in affected areas of the country.”

This is a welcome news as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.

“This is a major win for public health and is an excellent example of what collective efforts can attain, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Abeyasinghe.

“We look forward for these efforts to be sustained for a strong and resilient immunization system, utilizing the investments made for polio outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccination to ensure all children are protected from vaccine preventable diseases as the Philippines moves towards achieving Universal Health Care,” she added.

Polio is a highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease that can be avoided with a vaccine. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable.

Currently, the disease remains endemic in only two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Staff Report

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