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Malawi begins mass Polio vaccination campaign after recorded case in 30 years

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Southern African nation – Malawi has begun the first round of a mass oral polio vaccine campaign for children under the age of five after the nation recorded its first case of wild poliovirus (type 1) in 30 years last month.

The recorded case of wild poliovirus type 1  paralysed a 3-year old child in the capital Lilongwe in February.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease with no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines, which given multiple times can protect a child for life. Eradicating polio requires immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is free of all forms of poliovirus.

African governments have strived to eradicate the virus for decades and in August 2020, the continent was certified free of indigenous wild polio.

 A United Nations report says Nigeria is the first country in the world to use nOPV2 to tackle an outbreak in March 2021, vaccinating 7 million children in six states. By September, Benin, Congo, Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone had also rolled out the vaccine. Africa was certified free of wild polio in August 2020, but outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio type 2 are still being reported.

Responding to the call, women brought their children for immunization as the Malawian health minister took the lead in administering the shots.

One of the mothers who brought their children for vaccination at the Gateway Clinic in Blantyre, Malawi’s second-biggest city, Gloria Kasula, remarked “I always want to put the well being of my child first at all times, that’s why I had to put everything aside and come here to have my child fully protected because right now we are at a very scary moment.”

WHO representative in Malawi, Dr Janet Kayita said “There has been a huge massive effort to strengthen the routine immunization system’’

Dr Kayita pointed out the benefits of routine immunization saying, “We mustn’t forget the routine immunization system. This is the core pillar of the response and is really important because it is through this immunization programme the children get oral polio vaccine but also IPV and together these protect children against polio.”

More than nine million children, under the age of five, are to be vaccinated against polio in the first round of a vaccination campaign against wild polio virus type 1 using the bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine recommended by World Health Organization (WHO).

Metro

Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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