The external assessment team that conducted the final Polio outbreak assessment in Ethiopia earlier this month has confirmed that Ethiopia has successfully interrupted the transmission of the Wild Polio Virus outbreak nearly two years after the outbreak was confirmed in the Horn of Africa.
The assessment team, composed of experts from the US Centers for Disease Control, Rotary International, USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CORE Group, UNICEF, WHO /HQ and WHO Horn of Africa Polio Coordination Office, has been evaluating the response undertaken since the start of the outbreak in all three countries affected by the outbreak – Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. The assessment also confirmed whether the outbreak response met global standards and whether polio transmission had been interrupted. The last WPV case was reported from Kenya on 14 July 2013, from Ethiopia on 5 January 2014 and from Somalia 11 August 2014.
The final assessment in Ethiopia involved meetings with the Ministry of Health, ICC and selected partners and the team received updates from the Ministry and partners on key issues related to the response in Ethiopia including routine immunization progress, supplemental immunization activities, surveillance, laboratory support at EPHI, communication, coordination and funding aspects.
The team presented their findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Ministry of Health on June 12, in the presence of the country representatives of WHO and UNICEF. They recognized the significant improvement in the quality of the response since the onset of the outbreak and appreciated the role of the coordination mechanisms established for the outbreak response at national, regional and zonal levels. The assessment acknowledged the collective efforts of the Federal Ministry of health, the Somali Regional Health Bureau, Dollo Zone Administration, communities, partners and donors in the outbreak response.
Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health, welcomed the assessment team’s conclusions and recommendations and emphasized that the Ministry would continue to implement its Immunization Program. He said it would also follow the assessment team’s recommendations on updating the outbreak preparedness and response plan and sustaining the coordination mechanisms for strengthening the surveillance system and routine immunization to increase population immunity.
Source : MoFA