WHO likely to declare Bangladesh polio-free | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

WHO likely to declare Bangladesh polio-free

WHO likely to declare Bangladesh polio-free

Says DGHS official

The World Health Organization (WHO) is likely to declare Bangladesh and 10 other Asian countries polio-free, said a government official yesterday.
The declaration is expected from the WHO regional certification commission meeting in Delhi during March 26 and 27, Dr MD Tajul Islam A Bari of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told The Daily Star.
“We hope to be polio-free officially if nothing unexpected occurs by this time,” said Dr Tajul, programme manager of DGHS EPI and surveillance programme.
The other countries of the South-East Asian region expected to be polio-free are Bhutan, Korea, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.
If certified, this region will be the fourth after Europe, America and Western Pacific regions that were earlier declared free of polio, an acute viral, infectious disease causing paralysis.
Eastern Mediterranean and African regions are still to go a long way to be polio-free.  
“Bangladesh found its last case of polio in 2006. Actually, the country has been operating extensive immunization and surveillance campaigns since the late 1990s,” Dr Tajul.
He explained that WHO looks at three criteria for declaring a region polio-free -- the region should not have any case of polio in the previous three years, continuous presence of surveillance and securing all laboratories testing the germs.
Dr Jayantha Liyanage, medical officer of WHO's immunization and vaccines division in Dhaka, said while the declaration is likely in late March, it does not end the challenge, as trans-border transmission of germs goes on.
He said there is a decision to gradually shift from oral form of polio vaccine (OPV) to injectable form of polio vaccine (IPV), which is better in preventing polio.
Dr Tajul Islam said the government has planned introducing IPV from December 31, 2015.

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