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Sudan’s Response To The Polio Outbreak Showcases Coordination

Less than 6 months after closing the 2020 outbreak of poliovirus, Sudan declared a new polio outbreak following an importation of the virus. “Facing this outbreak with determination and preparation, we will overcome it just like we overcame previous outbreaks,” said Ismael Suleiman Aladani.

KHARTOUM MARCH 25: Less than 6 months after closing the 2020 outbreak of circulating variant poliovirus type 2, in December 2022 Sudan declared a new polio outbreak following an importation of the virus. As the Federal Ministry of Health and partners began the work of planning an outbreak response, it became apparent that the efforts exerted to strengthen Sudan’s health care system, both during the 2020 outbreak response and after, are still paying dividends.

Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health collaborated with partners in country and within the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to implement a comprehensive outbreak response plan that encompassed 2 rounds of high-quality door to door vaccination campaigns. The response plan for the 2022 outbreak built on the lessons learned and changes made in over the course of the last outbreak response and official outbreak closure in August 2022 – developments that have left Sudan better equipped than ever to safeguard the health and well-being of its children.

The first round of the polio campaign, running from 18 to 21 March 2023, saw vaccinators go door to door across the entire country, including in some particularly challenging and complex geographies, to reach and protect an estimated 8.9 million children under 5 with oral polio vaccine and vitamin A supplements. In a context like this, where the Ministries of Health at federal and state levels and their partners had succeeded in stopping transmission so recently, the mood among those designing and delivering the response wasn’t despair that the country was dealing with a new outbreak, but optimism.

– “Facing this outbreak with determination and preparation, we will overcome it just like we overcame previous outbreaks,” said Ismael Suleiman Aladani, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Manager, Federal Ministry of Health, Sudan.

The 2023 outbreak response highlights the need for strong coordination and to mobilize resources as efficiently as possible.

Sudan’s outbreak response is led by the Federal Ministry of Health with strong coordination and support from WHO and UNICEF, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners and OCHA. A culture of collaboration between all partners has been essential for overcoming the challenges that emerged in the last outbreak response, and for responding quickly and effectively to new ones. New challenges are likely to emerge over the course of the 2023 campaign response, but with partners committed to collaborating and learning from them, future vaccination responses – for poliovirus and other diseases – will be more effective.

Africa Eradicates Wild Poliovirus

Image: CDC

Amel Eldeeb
Amel Eldeeb
The founder and editor-in-Chief of Anews. Amels origins is in Sudan, but now she live in Europe. She is an experienced media worker, with a past in radio, television and newspapers.

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