New Polio Outbreak Declared As ‘Emergency’

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

A statement says the ministry is determined to stop its spread further as the Government of South Sudan is treating the polio outbreak with utmost priority.

During this time, all partners are encouraged to actively engage with county, state, and national counterparts in planning and implementation of response campaigns.

Three children have been confirmed with the infection; two in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and another in Eastern Equatoria State says the press statements.

“We consider this a national health emergency,” the Honourable Dr.Riek Gai, Minister of Health, said on Monday morning.

“We are mobilizing from the highest level of Government to every community in the country in order to stop this disease. We are also working closely with WHO, UNICEF, and other key partners around the world and here in South Sudan to ensure the most effective response. Together, we will stop the spread of polio in South Sudan,” the Minister added.

Two girls, aged two and eight, living in Aweil South county, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and a two year-old girl in Ikotos county, Eastern Equatoria State, were confirmed on September 26 as having polio.

The status of the three girls is being followed closely. The cases were confirmed by the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi.

South Sudan had been polio-free since June 2009.

Since the polio outbreak in Somalia was confirmed in May, quickly followed by its spread to Kenya and Ethiopia, medical authorities across South Sudan have been on high alert to look for any possible cases in this country.

The Ministry of Health and its partners conducted additional polio vaccination campaigns in August in the States considered most at risk from the outbreak in the affected countries on its borders.

Those States were Upper Nile, Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria. Pariang County in Unity State was also included in that vaccination campaign.

Immediately following the confirmation of the three polio cases, the Government and partners responded with emergency vaccinations in the areas where the virus was detected.

The emergency “mop-up” campaign, in Aweil South County in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, and Gogrial West County in Warrap State and Ikotos and Budi counties in Eastern Equatoria State will continue through October 4.

This “mop-up” campaign is designed to stop the spread of the virus quickly.

Additional campaigns will be held in every State in the country in October, November and December. This will be an ongoing process to ensure children in South Sudan are protected from polio.

The Government of South Sudan is also continuing to coordinate with neighbouring countries in polio eradication efforts.

“We are organizing intensive vaccination campaigns throughout the country to protect our children against this devastating disease. We are determined to stop the spread of polio,” the Minister said adding that “we need everyone in the country to help us.”

He made an appeal to all parents to make sure their children are vaccinated.

“Protect your children through routine immunization and by making sure they receive additional polio vaccinations. We are working together for the eradication of polio. As long as polio exists anywhere in the world, every un immunized child is at risk,” he said.

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