Aug 31 ยท Last update 1 mo. ago.

What does the eradication of polio mean for the battle against COVID-19?

Since 1988 the World Health Organisation has put in place initiatives to eradicate polio, with the initial goal of succeeding by the year 2000. While this has proven much more difficult than first hypothesised, an important milestone in this battle against polio was reached in August 2020 when the WHO and the African Regional Certification Commission officially declared the African continent free from wild polio. The disease is now only a wild threat in two more countries in the world and many are left speculating what this means for the fight against COVID-19. Why has the eradication of polio been so complicated? What does the eradication of polio mean for the ongoing battle against COVID-19? Does it give us hope for beating the coronavirus, or could this be a similarly arduous battle?
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There are transferrable lessons
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There are transferrable lessons

This is a poignant moment for disease prevention in the African continent as polio is only the second virus to be eradicated here following the elimination of smallpox globally on 9 December 1979. Polio eradication was difficult in Africa for various reasons, but the methods to overcome these hurdles carry lessons for dealing with COVID-19. Through dealing with polio health workers noticed polio campaigns were much more effective when included in a broad package of community health initiatives, rather than a standalone vaccination measures. Furthermore community outreach was found to be crucial in gaining acceptance, and an understanding of local concerns and challenges. While COVID-19 even poses challenges for other diseases, directly disrupting vaccination campaigns, it is important to keep in mind that the eradication of polio on the African continent frees up a lot of experienced health workers who can now turn there attention and experience to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

allafrica.com/stories/202008260040.html webmd.com/children/news/20200827/polio-eradicated-in-africa-who

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Aug 31