Mozambique Declared Polio Free: Health Ministry

Polio could be eradicated worldwide by next year

MAPUTO, July 11 (Reuters) - Mozambique has been certified free of polio, the health ministry said on Monday, comparing the achievement to the country’s elimination of leprosy in 2008.

The announcement, made on the state news agency, follows a meeting of the Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication, the body that advises the World Health Organisation (WHO), in Algeria last month, which reviewed the certification progress of Mozambique, Niger and Chad.

Experts say polio could be eradicated worldwide by next year, completing the mission begun in the 1980s against the virus which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis.

Polio, which spreads rapidly among children, especially in unsanitary conditions in war-torn regions and places lacking in healthcare, remains endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Writing by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)