Liberia: Health Minister Declares Polio Virus Outbreak as National Public Health Emergency
Monrovia – Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the Minister of Health on Thursday declared an outbreak of the Poliovirus, terming it as a ‘National Public Health Emergency’.
The statement from Minister followed the detection of poliovirus by the National Surveillance System, which has spread throughout the country from two different environmental sites in Monrovia.
Experience from other countries in Africa and around the world had shown that swift intervention is needed to curtail its further spread.
“In line with WHO and the communities for Polio and the International Health Regulation of 2005, recommendations as that in such a case, action supposed to be taken to curtail its further spread; therefore, I am officially declaring Polio as a National Public Health Emergency. This means that we have to continue to monitor the situation within the Country. Also, the most important thing we have to do is to interrupt the spread of this poliovirus and go back to try and eradicate it,” Dr. Jallah declared.
Under the National Polio Emergency, the Health Minister says immediate measures that include door-to-door polio vaccination campaign will take place in every community across the Country to monitor the situation within the country to beef up the fight against polio.
Minister of Health promised that her administration would move with speed in ensuring that children from zero to five years old are vaccinated and registered for national birth certification.
She added: “There will be a lot more coverage on it so you can know when we coming and who will be coming to your homes. Coupled with that exercise, we want to make sure that children births are registered.”
“So it will give us the opportunity to be able to register all of the children and make sure that they have birth certificates. So, we will make sure kids are protected and vaccinated, and then we will make sure that the birth is registered.”
Dr. Jallah urged all Liberians, including international stakeholders to work with the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of the virus in the Country.
“This virus is circulating within the public for about a year so we are ready to move things forward quickly to protect the Children. So, therefore, all of our teams are ready and we want to bring it to the public attention to let them know that this virus is in the country and the action that will be taken going forward,” she concluded.