October 1, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) declared Sudan free of the crippling polio virus on Friday, two years after its resurgence in the Darfur region.
In 2020, the health authorities reported that 58 children were infected with a polio strain from neighbouring Chad.
“Sudan has been declared Polio free, two years after a confirmed outbreak triggered by the importation of Poliovirus type 2 cases from neighbouring Chad, said ” reads a statement by UNICEF.
The reoccurrence of the globally eradicated Poliovirus type 2 in Sudan “presented a big challenge and was a risk to the children in Sudan,” said UNICEF’s Health Officer, Khattab Obaid.
The last confirmed case of the disabling and life-threatening disease was in December 2020.
Poliovirus which mainly affects mainly children under 5 years, attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in one in 200 cases, of which 5-10 per cent die as breathing muscles fail.
Sudan was polio-free until 2004 but the World Health Organization considered the country at high risk for spreading the virus internationally as it borders seven countries.
In 2004-2006 an outbreak of polio in Sudan caused 1,200 cases in the region.
WHO carried out a large-scale vaccination campaign targetting 8.5 million children against polio in 2009.