Meeting of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), 30 June - 1 July 2011
The IMB reaffirmed its view that polio eradication can be achieved, but stated 'this will not happen if things continue as they are'. Paragraph 2 of the Executive Summary summarizes the IMB's specific concerns. The IMB also expresses serious concern at the ongoing global funding gap, calling it 'deadly serious'.
The IMB also highlight the following 7 'important positive signs' which if achieved by end-2011 would, in the IMB's estimation, affirm that the programme is back on track to interrupt all polio transmission by end-2012:
1) no recurrence of cases in India by end-2011,
2) interruption of transmission in Kano and the surrounding north-west areas of Nigeria by end-2011,
3) interruption of type 3 poliovirus globally by end-2011,
4) a major expansion in capacity and expertise in Chad and DR Congo, with independent monitoring, surveillance data and case numbers clearly reflecting the impact of this expansion by end-October 2011,
5) a clear decline in the number of cases in Pakistan in the second half of 2011, compared to the equivalent period in 2010, with particular evidence that the National Emergency Action Plan is working in Sindh province,
6) no more ‘surprises’ with re-emergence of the disease in polio-free countries,
7) a decline in field reports suggesting poor or variable quality of vaccination campaigns and surveillance, and/or inadequate local leadership.
The full list of the IMB's recommendations to polio-affected countries and the GPEI is contained in pages 25 and 26 of the report. The GPEI welcomes the findings and recommendations of the IMB, and takes the report extremely seriously. Within two weeks, it is expected that the leaders of the GPEI spearheading partner agencies - WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF - and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hold a conference call to define specific actions each can take to intensify support to countries' eradication efforts and ensure the recommendations made by the IMB are closely monitored. The IMB was established in 2010 at the request of the Executive Board of WHO and the World Health Assembly, to monitor progress against the milestones of the GPEI Strategic Plan 2010-2012.
Source: Polio global eradication initiative: http://www.polioeradication.org/