Eradication of poliomyelitis in South Africa
An international campaign under the leadership of the World Health Organisation is underway to eradicate polio from the world by the year 2000. South Africa may already be free of polio. However, to ensure eradication we need to move from a polio control programme to a polio eradication programme. This necessitates the institution of a surveillance programme for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and improvement of the delivery of polio vaccine. All children with AFP (including those with suspected GuillainBarre syndrome) should be investigated with stool culture to exclude polio. Primary care services need strengthening so that oral polio vaccine coverage greater than 90% is achieved in all regions by all authorities. Outbreak response activities need to be developed. Consideration needs to be given to national immunisation days and mopping-up activities.