NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) – Kenya, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), will host a Pan-African conference next week to examine progress in removing polio from the continent, the UN health agency said on Friday .
The African Regional Research Commission for Polio Eradication Research (ARCC), to be held in Nairobi on November 12-16, will review the progress made by the continent to be free of debilitating viral disease.
During this meeting, seven countries, including Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, will present a report on efforts to eradicate polio.
The host country Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Namibia must provide evidence indicating that they have remained without the wild poliomyelitis virus.
Nigeria remains the only African endemic African African country, while efforts have been intensified to limit its spread to vulnerable countries such as Niger, Kenya, Somalia and the DRC.
Rudi Eggers, the WHO representative in Kenya, welcomed the progress made by African countries in eradicating poliomyelitis, but stressed that increased alertness is essential to prevent recurrence.
"African countries are making major efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis, but it is a very good hideout virus and, if we wish, would have serious consequences for eradication efforts," Rudi said.
WHO says the world is about to eradicate poliomyelitis, while the disease is endemic to just three countries, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
In particular, the African region has taken important steps towards stopping the transmission of the 1988 wild-type polio virus, when the global polio eradication initiative was set up.
WHO has collaborated with African governments to increase vaccination against polio, hygiene surveillance and education as a means of counteracting highly contagious viral disease that leads to paralysis of affected patients.