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Is it the World Health Organisation or World Hogwash Organisation Dr Tedros?

As if the flipflop on the coronavirus pandemic of the Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led World Health Organisation (WHO) was not enough, now it has come to light that the WHO has declared in a statement that a new polio outbreak in Sudan is linked to an on-going vaccine-sparked epidemic in Chad. This declaration comes a week after the global health body under the United Nations declared the African continent to be free of the wild polio virus. The WHO and its partners even termed it “an incredible and emotional day.”

On Tuesday, 25 August, the Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication and the World Health Organization (WHO) made a joint announcement that the African continent is now free of the wild poliovirus, after decades of work to eradicate it. The announcement by the ARCC comes after no new cases have been reported in the past four years. Polio had once paralyzed around 75,000 children a year across Africa.

On September 2,  Maria Cheng of Associated Press reported, “In a statement this week, WHO said two children in Sudan — one from South Darfur state and the other from Gedarif state, close to the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea — were paralyzed in March and April. Both had been recently vaccinated against polio. WHO said initial outbreak investigations show the cases are linked to an ongoing vaccine-derived outbreak in Chad that was first detected last year and is now spreading in Chad and Cameroon. There is local circulation in Sudan and continued sharing of transmission with Chad,” the U.N. agency said, adding that genetic sequencing confirmed numerous introductions of the virus into Sudan from Chad.

WHO said it had found 11 additional vaccine-derived polio cases in Sudan and that the virus had also been identified in environmental samples. There are typically many more unreported cases for every confirmed polio patient. The highly infectious disease can spread quickly in contaminated water and most often strikes children under 5.

In rare instances, the live poliovirus in the oral vaccine can mutate into a form capable of sparking new outbreaks.

On Monday, WHO warned that the risk of further spread of vaccine-derived polio across central Africa and the Horn of Africa was “high,” noting the large-scale population movements in the region. More than a dozen African countries are currently battling outbreaks of polio caused by the virus, including Angola, Congo, Nigeria, and Zambia.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of the large-scale vaccination campaigns needed to stamp out polio have been disrupted across Africa and elsewhere, leaving millions of children vulnerable to infection.

In April, WHO and its partners reluctantly recommended a temporary halt to mass polio immunization campaigns, recognizing the move could lead to a resurgence of the disease. In May, they reported that 46 campaigns to vaccinate children against polio had been suspended in 38 countries, mostly in Africa, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the campaigns have recently been re-started, but health workers need to vaccinate more than 90% of children in their efforts to eradicate the paralytic disease.”

Dr. Tedros the new polio outbreak in Sudan has been linked to the WHO’s oral polio vaccine that uses a weakened form of the virus

A look into the past data on Oral Polio vaccine case studies throws up an interesting fact that the use of the oral polio vaccine was discontinued in the UK in 2004 and the US in 2000, and that the WHO itself advises that the use of the oral vaccine should be discontinued after polio is judged to be eradicated because of the risk of vaccine-derived outbreaks.

The emergence of these cases so soon after the announced eradication of wild polio in Africa is not only a setback but a major disappointment, raising serious questions on the competency of WHO as a global health body at a time when its failure during the coronavirus pandemic is evident.

In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) had reluctantly admitted that the global explosion in polio is predominantly vaccine strain.

With each passing day, I wonder whether this is the World Health Organisation or the World Hogwash Organisation.

Please do tell Dr Tedros!

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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