More than 1.9 million children in Angola were vaccinated this week against the deadly polio virus, according to numbers released by the World Health Organisation.
Vaccination campaigns, involving 13,340 people, across five of Angola’s 18 provinces were launched earlier this week under strict COVID-19 prevention measures. The campaign was initially targeting just over 1.2 million children under five years of age.
Vaccination campaigns across the continent have encountered difficulties as countries grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic since its onset in March.
Angola is a country which is plagued by the poliovirus. Last year, an outbreak prompted the government into action which saw 4.5 million children vaccinated in targeted districts in 15 of the country’s 18 provinces.
The W.H.O. at the time said that Angola was one of 14 African countries facing outbreaks of a rare circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.
Vaccine-derived polioviruses are not common but they are sometimes found in severely under-immunized populations living in areas with poor sanitation and low levels of polio immunization.
Polio is a viral disease which is transmitted from person to person, mainly through a faecal-oral route or, less frequently, through contaminated water or food, and multiplies inside the intestines, according to the W.H.O.
There is no cure for polio but the disease can be prevented through administration of a vaccine.
About a week ago, Burkina Faso also conducted a four-day mass polio immunization campaign, in which more than 170,000 children under the age of five in two districts of the country’s centre-east region were vaccinated.
This was Burkina Faso’s first vaccination campaign since such activities were suspended by the government in late March.