Polio emergency: high risk of the disease still threaten 30 provinces

Children require 4 oral drops and 1 injection immunization administered, to be protected against polio. (IO)

Jakarta, IO – It was only a few years ago when Indonesia declared its freedom from polio: we had publicly eradicated the disease in March 2014, alongside fellow WHO members in the Southeast Asia Region. Therefore, the recent declaration of Polio Extraordinary Incidence status in the Regency of Pidie, Aceh, was a brutal reminder that this infectious disease has returned in most parts of our country, in line with the reduced coverage of child immunization in the past few years. 

According to Ministry of Health data, per 14 July 2022, the coverage of full basic immunization regime in our country is only 33.4%. Per November 2022, most of Indonesia’s provinces – no fewer than 30! – bear a high risk of polio incidence. Only four provinces and regions are declared safe from polio. Three provinces are declared to be in the Yellow Zone or medium risk condition: Banten, Bali, and Jambi; and only Special Region Yogyakarta is in the Green Zone or low risk status. 

“There is no cure for polio. However, it is preventable through immunization. Oral drop polio immunization is administered to babies four times, i.e. when they are 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and 4 months old. This is complemented with a single injection immunization, administered at the age of 4 months. Oral drop immunization protects the baby from polio types 1 and 3, while the injection protects them from types 1, 2, 3. The immunization must be administered completely, in order to ensure that the child is fully-protected because of perfectly generated immunity,” declared dr. Musthofa Kamal, M.Sc., WHO Indonesia Surveillance National Professional Officer, in the “The Status of Polio Extraordinary Incidence in Indonesia: What the People Should be Wary of” live IG session held on Tuesday (22/11/2022).