In central Africa, a new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was reported in Equatorial Guinea. In total, three cases have now been reported from the country; genetic sequencing indicates the cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon. Outbreak response in the country is currently being planned.
First mass vaccination campaigns started in the Middle East since a polio case was reported in Iraq. Polio vaccination campaigns commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt on 6 April and Turkey on 7 April, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over five days. For Iraq, this is the first nationwide vaccination campaign since a case of polio in a six-month-old boy from northern Baghdad was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on 30 March.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has met in Geneva on 1-3 April to discuss measures to prevent further international spread of polio, progress in eliminating wild and vaccine derived poliovirus and the status of the preparation for global OPV2 withdrawal. Final recommendations will be published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record.
In West Africa, regional 2013/14 grain harvests were 11 percent above average. Markets were well-supplied in February. Production shortfalls in eastern Niger and northern Chad resulted in atypical price increases. Institutional purchases were ongoing in Niger and Mali at normal levels in February. Rice imports from international markets contributed to food availability in coastal countries (Pages 3-5).
World’s most populous region certified polio-free: the WHO South East Asia Region was certified polio-free at a ceremony in India this week, meaning that transmission of wild poliovirus has been interrupted in this bloc of 11 countries stretching from Indonesia to India. This achievement marks a significant leap forward in global eradication, with 80% of the world’s population now living in certified polio-free regions.
In Cameroon, two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases are reported this week, from 2014. The new cases confirm continued transmission of this strain and geographic expansion of infected areas following detection of four cases in October.
Newsweek Pakistan published an in-depth interview with Dr Hamid Jafari, WHO, about the current situation of polio eradication in Pakistan. The interview can be accessed here.
FAO’s forecasts for global cereal production, consumption, trade and stocks in 2013/14 have all been raised since February, with overall supply conditions significantly improved compared to the previous season.
Export prices of wheat rose in February mainly on concerns about the 2014 winter wheat crop in the United States. Prices of maize also increased, supported by strong domestic and export demand for feed and industrial use. Overall, however, cereal export prices remained below their year-earlier levels.
In West Africa,2013/14 grain harvests were near-average in the Sahel and market supplies improved in may parts of the region in January. Production shortfalls in eastern Niger and northern Chad resulted in atypical price increases. Institutional purchases began in January at average levels in Niger, but above-average levels in Mali. Rice imports from international markets contributed food availability in coastal countries.
YOKOHAMA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) this month welcomed a US$88.3 million contribution from the Government of Japan. The donation will enable WFP to provide urgently-needed food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in addition to supporting special humanitarian logistics operations in four of those countries.