170 Cases Not Polio

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK – Around 170 cases which were suspected to be polio have been discarded. Out of 275 suspected cases of polio that have been reported since the disease broke out in May to date, only 20 have been confirmed as polio cases, while 30 people have died. Ministry of Health and Social Services Permanent Secretary, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, told New Era yesterday the rest were just some paralytic cases, that do not belong to a specific disease. He said the ministry is still keeping them on the list because they are not confirmed. Shangula said they are a group of diseases that manifest themselves in the form of paralysis. Results of laboratory tests of the samples of specimens that were sent to South Africa indicate that they are non-polio cases. “They are diseases that have been there,” he added. Shangula said most of the patients who were thought to have the disease have been discharged. However, one is in the ICU while many others are making good progress. The ministry is going back to its records from which it isolated cases that are related to the current outbreak. After two successful mass polio immunisation campaigns that the ministry undertook in June and July, ministry officials are now preparing for the third and last round, which will target children under the age of five years. The immunisation, scheduled for August 20 to 24, will also include Vitamin A supplementation and for measles. Director of Primary Health Care Maggie Nghatanga said yesterday the ministry is now reviewing plans from the regions to see what their needs are for the coming campaign in terms of personnel and vehicles, among other things. Health workers and district supervisors this week underwent a three-day training session on social mobilisation issues in the management of measles. Nghatanga said the ministry has sent out requests to different organisations for vehicles and also nurses from the university to assist in the coming exercise. The number of children to be targeted is more or less 300 000.

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