Addis Ababa, 19, September 2018: Four countries from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed a communique on polio eradication in Garissa, Kenya on 14th September 2018. The communique underscored the need to combine and strengthen the effort of Horn of Africa countries currently responding to an outbreak of poliovirus detected in environmental surveillance and human case samples from Somalia and Kenya. The polio outbreak has been classified as a Grade 2 Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The detection of poliovirus in these two IGAD countries leaves the remaining five IGAD member states (Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Djibouti) at high risk for similar outbreaks due to population movement.
During this historic event, three high risk countries (Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya) jointly launched a bOPV polio response campaign targeted to reach about six million (5.8million) under five children.
This high level event was attended by the Kenyan and Ethiopian Ministry of Health Officials, Kenyan Health Cabinet Secretary, Somalia’s Health Minister, UNICEF and WHO Representatives from Kenya, the Garissa Governor, IGAD Executive Secretary General and development partners.
The signing of the communique by the health ministers and representatives from Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan was carried out under the support of IGAD. The signed communique outlined the commitments made by the Health Ministers of IGAD Member States convened in Garissa, Kenya on 14th September 2018 to:
Take collective responsibility to implement coordinated efforts; to intensify acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and outbreak response; to prevent international spread; and to interrupt the outbreak as soon as possible.
To extend all possible support, including political advocacy and engagement at all levels for successful coordination and implementation of a synchronized cross-border polio vaccination activities in the IGAD region.
To call upon the development partners to support technically and financially the implementation of the HOA Polio Eradication strategic plan and work in partnership with UN agencies, USAID, Core Group and other relevant partners.
To mobilize and maintain political will at the highest level of countries in support of addressing common regional issues with particular focus regional polio eradication.