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Survivor’s story: As Africa gets “polio free”, don’t throw caution to the wind

As a child, I contracted the poliovirus, and that has changed the route my whole life took.

Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly communicable viral disease that transmits from person to person, usually through the faecal-oral route, contaminated water, or food.

It can lead to full or partial limb paralysis – since it attacks the nervous system – and even death.

Polio-Free Nigeria: Gates, Dangote, Others Hail Achievement

WHO Certifies Africa Free Of Wild Polio Virus

The virus mostly affects children under five years of age, and recently, Nigeria has been declared polio-free which earned Africa the wild polio-free certification.

As a child, I contracted the poliovirus, and that has changed the route my whole life took.

I try as much as possible to live a fulfilling life but sometimes I wonder if there are things I would have done, feats I would have achieved effortlessly if the functionality of my legs weren’t limited.

Nevertheless, here we are today celebrating the end of polio in Nigeria and Africa, and it is refreshing to know that fewer children will have to go through the trauma of limb paralysis or death because of this virus.

We are battling with novel viruses such as the Coronavirus, I believe it is about time we stop dealing with ancient diseases that are still affecting our society.

So in the wake of this celebration of a wild polio-free certified Africa, we all must commit to sustaining this eradication of the poliovirus, even while we are still dealing with the vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).

Remember how the whole world ignored the warning signs of the coronavirus, then we had a world pandemic?

Let’s not be too quick to throw caution into the wind.

A few steps to follow in order to keep wild polio from re-entering Africa include: taking the same precautious measures we are probably too tired of hearing like washing our children’s hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene, sanitizing our environment and above all, continued vaccination of children against the poliovirus.

Once again, congratulations to Africa; cheers to more wins.