FMHS staff commits to eradicating polio

A pledge ceremony was recently held at Tygerberg Hospital where clinicians and other healthcare staff signed “The Polio Eradication Champion’s Pledge” in which they commit themselves to ensuring that all children are vaccinated against polio, and to investigate and report all suspected cases to the relevant authority.
The Department of Paediatrics and Child Health as Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) and Tygerberg Hospital has committed itself to eradicating polio. 
 
Polio is a contagious viral illness that can cause nerve injury, leading to paralysis, difficulty breathing and even death. Thanks to vaccination, no case of confirmed polio has been reported in South Africa since 1989. 
 
A pledge ceremony was recently held at Tygerberg Hospital where clinicians and other healthcare staff signed “The Polio Eradication Champion’s Pledge” in which they commit themselves to ensuring that all children are vaccinated against polio, and to investigate and report all suspected cases to the relevant authority. 
 
“The Department of Paediatrics and Child Health is working towards the eradication of Polio worldwide,” said Prof Mariana Kruger, who heads the department.  
 
“I am grateful that in more than two decades of practicing medicine, I have never had to treat a child for polio,” said Prof Helena Rabie, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at the FMHS and Tygerberg Hospital.  
 
“Countless children were saved from death and many disabilities were prevented through polio vaccination, and now we are close to eradicating this illness – a truly historic event in the history of humanity,” said Rabie. 
 
“I am committed to help ensure vaccination of each child to prevent disease, death and disability, and to reporting patients with acute flaccid paralysis,” Rabie said.  
 
All cases of paralysis and weakness in the arms of legs not caused by injury in children younger than 15 years, must be reported to Provincial CDC-EPI Office at 021 483 3156/9917/6878/9964 or felencia.daniels@westerncape.gov.za or hlengani.mathema@westerncape.gov.za or charlenea.jacobs@westerncape.gov.za.  
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