Towards a Sustainable Wild Poliovirus Containment Strategy in Zambia

  • EM Mpabalwani
  • M Monze
  • B Matapo
  • H Mutambo
  • OA Babaniyi


Objective: The main objective of the survey and inventory of laboratories was to identify laboratories storing Wild Polio Virus (WPV) or potential infectious materials as a last step in contributing to sub-regional efforts in attaining a polio free status and the eradication of poliomyelitis in Zambia.
Methods: An adapted WHO generic protocol was used by the National Task Force (NTF) on Poliovirus Containment in Zambia to identify all bio-medical
laboratories in Zambia. A questionnaire sent to all biomedical laboratories was used to identify laboratories storing WPV or potential infectious  materials. Further physical inspection was done on some laboratories.
Results: Of the 170 biomedical laboratories in Zambia, 104 (61.1%) responded and 24 were identified as potentially storing infectious materials for WPV. Only one laboratory, the Virology Laboratory, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka was noted to store both WPV and potential infectious  materials.
Conclusion: The Ministry of Health through the NTF has set an impressive system in the laboratory containment of WPV and potential infectious  materials in Zambia. Appropriate bio-safety containment and restricted  access to stored materials containing WPV at the Virology Laboratory in Lusaka is a major step in the eradication of poliomyelitis in Zambia. Containment of these infectious materials will be particularly important in the post oral polio vaccination cessation era as there will be a large population of unimmunised children in the community who will be  susceptible to polio.

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eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X