Mozambique’s Ministry of Health has announced that the country has been certified free of polio, the disease which in a very small proportion of cases causes temporary or permanent paralysis.

The announcement follows the meeting of the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Poliomyelitis Eradication which took place in Algeria last month, which reviewed the certification process of Mozambique, Niger, and Chad.

Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho told a media conference here Monday that the certification was a very important milestone in the country’s history of public health, matching other achievements such as the elimination of leprosy in 2008.

Since 1997, the country has carried out epidemiological surveillance with high-quality samples taken at coverage rates compatible with international standards. This has involved taking samples at district level from people suffering from acute flaccid paralysis to confirm whether the polio virus was present.

In addition, the health service has undertaken routine vaccination campaigns aiming to reach 80 per cent of children at district level and 90 per cent in the country as a whole. Supplementary immunisation activities were also carried out to reach those not covered by the routine campaigns.

The polio virus is highly contagious and mainly affects children under the age of five. However, the only two countries in the world where polio remains endemic are Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Source: Nam News Network