MOH News
The World Polio Day Observed under Theme: "End Polio Now: Make History Today"
23 October 2014
The World Polio Day is observed on October 24th, 2014, corresponding to Dhul-Hijjah 30th, 1435H, under the theme: "End Polio Now: Make History Today". The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to vaccinate every child without exception with the anti-polio vaccine, is considered one of the biggest health partnerships between the public and private sectors which managed to reduce polio incidence by 99%. Therefore, polio exists now only in the countries suffering a drop in the level of health services. 
 
A report released by the MOH's National Center for Media and Health Awareness indicated that the Kingdom, thanks be to Allah, has been able, since 1995, to completely control polio, to the effect that the Kingdom has been declared free of Polio. It also makes continuous efforts to prevent the transfer of the disease from the countries still plagued with the disease.
 
According to the report, the Kingdom is considered one of the first Arab an Middle Eastern countries to use children's vaccines, including polio vaccines, and thanks to Allah in the first place, and then the patronage of our Wise Leadership, and through the extensive vaccination program implemented by the MOH, no polio cases have been recorded since 1995 till now. 
 
Likewise, a WHO report made clear that polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350.000 cases recorded that year, to 406 cases reported in 2013. Such a decline is the result of the efforts exerted at the global level to eradicate the disease. It added that in 2013 only three countries in the world are remain polio-endemic; namely Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, down from 125 countries in 1988.
   
It should be noted, within the same vein, that the WHO had accredited the Saudi National Polio Laboratory for one year as of the first of January, 2005, till December of the same year. And since that date, the WHO has been renewing its accreditation of the Saudi National Polio Laboratory every year up to 2013, following the annual assessment of excellence for the year 2013, when the Laboratory obtained 100% in the required standards, and the WHO, on its part, praised this accreditation.
 
The ongoing accreditation of the National Polio Laboratory by the WHO to become a reference laboratory of polio in the Middle East and obtaining the full mark in quality assurance, confirms the development in the level of performance which the Kingdom's laboratories and blood banks undergo in order to obtain the most prestigious international recognition certificates, for the purpose of achieving the best and most outstanding laboratory services to citizens and residents.
 
As per the report of the National Center for Media and Health Awareness, the aim of the Global Initiative and celebration of the polio day is promote awareness of the importance of detection and elimination of polio virus, and to vaccinate infants in their first year with four doses of the anti-polio oral vaccine and guaranteeing highly-immunized coverage with this vaccine, as well as giving all children under five years complementary doses of the anti-polio oral vaccine.
 
According to the Center's report, polio is an infectious viral disease that mainly affects children under five. It afflicts the nervous system, especially the nerves of the lower limbs and causes complete or semi-paralysis, and death in some cases. The disease is triggered by the 'polio virus', which enters into the human body through the mouth or nose, and multiplies in the intestine.
 
It was put clear in the report that polio is transmitted through direct contact between a polio-infected person and a healthy person, and also through mucus and phlegm from the mouth and nose, in addition to stool contaminated with the virus, water and food contaminated with the virus.
 
Furthermore, the report shows that the bulk of people infected with polio have no symptoms of the disease, neither overt nor covert, and that they do not realize that they have been infected. These symptoms include: fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and pain in the limbs. Statistically speaking, in every 200 infections, one case ends up with incurable paralysis. About 5% – 10% of the infected persons die when their respiratory muscles get dysfunctional.
 
Polio, according to the report, is incurable; however it recommends following some health tips such as, taking rest, good nutrition, taking medicines which help to relieve the symptoms, and doing physical therapy regularly so that muscles will not be dysfunctional. Likewise, taking the polio vaccine regularly and in multiple doses as per the vaccines schedule provides lifelong protection for the child against infection with the disease, Allah willing. In conclusion, the report mentioned that, as long as a single child remains infected with polio virus, children in all countries are at risk of polio.
 
 
 
 
 



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