Somaliland: Ministry of Health Puts on Highest Alert After Polio Outbreak confirmed in Somalia and Kenya

The first confirmed case of the Wild Polio Virus (WP1) in Somalia since 2007 has been reported in Mogadishu on May 9th, 2013. Since then fourteen (14) WPV cases have been reported and also two (2) WPV cases in Kenya. Experts have warned the outbreak could spread to neighbouring countries and a surveillance alert for polio has been issued to all countries across the Horn of Africa. There is a great risk that the disease can reaches Somaliland.

Globally, three countries remain polio endemic (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan). As long as Polio exists anywhere in the world, all children are at risk from polio if not vaccinated.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by the polio virus which invades the nervous system, and can cause irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs) or even death in a matter of hours. The polio virus enters through the mouth, in water or food contaminated with faecal material from infected person. The virus multiplies in the intestine and is execreted by the infected person in faeces, which can pass on the virus to others.

There is no cure for polio but can be prevented through giving children several doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine. The vaccine is essential protection for children and we urge all parents/mothers/caregivers to make sure that their children under the ages of five needs to be   vaccinated now. The vaccine is available at all health centres and will be made available during the National Immunization Days (NIDs) exercise also. The vaccinators will be coming to house to immunize your children.

Dates for next National immunization Days (NIDs) Somaliland:

a.      16-19, June, 2013
b.      1-4, July, 2013
c.       18-21, August, 2013
d.      16-19, December, 2013