A wild polio virus is spreading in the country since October 2013 and has set the Ministry of Public Health and its partners jittery.
One of the recent cases was a five year old child who traveled from from kribi in the South region to the Banso Baptiste Hospital where one of the seven cases of polio was detected.
Announcing vaccination campaigns that took place over the week-end, the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda said, “Every case of confirmed polio is an epidemic because around each confirmed patient, there are at least 200 children with the virus who continue to spread it.”
Poliomyelitis is an infectious and highly contagious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis and sometimes death.
Mama Fouda said since the last case of wild polio virus was recorded in 2009, Cameroon was on track to eradicating polio but seven cases detected in three regions (West, Centre and South) have dashed hopes of eradication.
He said the risk of international spread was high with the large movement of goods and people across the borders due to the political unrest in the sub-region.
<strong Vaccination Campaigns from April-June
In order to tackle the epidemic, the Minister announced a vaccination campaign for April last week-end and two more in May and June.
Mama Fouda maintained that the number of doses taken only helps to increase immunity and parents should not be afraid of the repeated vaccination for children from 0-5 years as their health is in no way affected.
“Leaving children without vaccination weakens collective protection and risks destroying efforts”, he stressed. Though health professionals will embark on a door to door vaccination strategy, parents should still take their children to the nearest health centres, Mama Fouda said.
He urged the health personnel to sensitise the population on the merits of vaccination.
Since October 2013, Government WHO and UNICEF have organised seven response campaigns four in 2013 and three in 2014 with 4,730213 children vaccinated.