The last time Nigeria reported a wild poliovirus case was in August 2016. This was also the last wild poliovirus case reported on the African continent.
In August 2019, the African Region became eligible to be certified free of wild poliovirus, after Nigeria, the last wild poliovirus endemic country, recorded no new cases three years – the requisite period – since it last reported cases of wild poliovirus. The commission had already accepted the documentation of the other 43 countries in the region.
Today, the independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC), responsible for certifying the eradication of wild poliovirus in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, announced it is set to make its final decision about the region’s wild poliovirus status in August 2020.
Following field verification visits over the past year and thorough critical analysis of the documentation of the polio surveillance, immunization and laboratory capacity presented by the governments of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and South Sudan, the Commission has validated that the countries’ documentation grants them wild polio-free status.
“This achievement by Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and South Sudan is a major step towards the eradication of wild poliovirus in the African region,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “As the continent struggles with COVID-19, this milestone shows that when leaders, partners, health workers and communities come together we can triumph over the most difficult health challenges.”
There is still the issue of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks in Africa and elsewhere and also needs to be addressed.
There are two remaining polio endemic countries on the planet–Afghanistan and Pakistan.