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    Sierra Leone-Health-Polio

    Sierra Leone: Windfall for global anti-polio effort

    APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

    Sierra Leone is among 12 African countries thought to be vulnerable to the polio virus epidemic which have been earmarked to benefit from a whooping $96.5 million from the global charity, Rotary International.

    According to the humanitarian organization in a statement issued in Freetown on Wednesday, the grant is meant to support the global effort to end the transmission of polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that paralyzes its victims.

    Polio is caused by a virus which mostly affects children.

    It is transmitted through contaminated water or food, or contact with an infected person.

    Infected people who become ill develop paralysis, which can sometimes lead to death.

    The polio virus is said to be endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

    While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing disease, wild poliovirus is still a threat in parts of these countries.

    In this year alone ten cases have been recorded in Afghanistan and three in Pakistan.

    In Africa, the persistence of the virus in Nigeria makes the rest of the continent vulnerable.

    The unrests in its northern region, where religious considerations have hindered vaccination efforts, have frustrated Nigeria’s effort to end the polio epidemic.

    But the good news is that this development comes as the country marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, after it last reported four cases in 2016.

    In Sierra Leone the last polio virus was detected in 2010.

    Global efforts to end transmission of this virus targets total elimination by 2018.

    Health authorities say as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for ongoing funding and political commitment to its eradication.

    The three endemic countries are receiving the bulk of the funding announced by Rotary International.

    Afghanistan will receive $22.9 million, while Pakistan and Nigeria will each receive $21.7 million and $16.1 million respectively.

    Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan will also receive between $10million and $85, 300 each to help fund their anti-polio efforts.

    An additional $5.8 million in funding will be spent on the continent for surveillance activities and $467,800 for technical assistance.


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