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Polio Highlight

Global polio transmission will not be stopped by end-2012, but this year has brought the world a great stride closer to that goal

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative aimed to stop global polio transmission by the end of 2012. It is now certain to fail. That said, there has been substantial progress this year. There have been 175 polio cases worldwide so far in 2012: half the number of 2011, and less than 0.1% of the 350,000 cases in 1988 (the year when the GPEI began). Just 0.2% of the Earth’s land surface area is now infected with polio. The end of 2012 will not bring the end of polio, but we may now be seeing the polio virus make its last stand.

India has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries: a great achievement in the history of global public health. Angola and DR Congo have not had a polio case for over 10 months. Chad has reported only five cases this year. All four remain vulnerable to future polio importations and outbreaks: surveillance must be sensitive, and immunisation coverage high.

The Programme in Pakistan has improved significantly: less than half the number of polio cases this year than last. This trajectory of improvement must continue. The potential disruption of upcoming elections is of grave concern.

Afghanistan has recovered from a spike in polio cases in 2011 but has a lot more work to do. The rate of improvement is slow. The basic management challenges are clear. The solutions are written down, but need more speedy implementation.

Nigeria has hosted over half the world’s polio cases this year. It has reported more than twice as many cases in 2012 as it did in 2011. Cases are concentrated in a small number of Local Government Areas (LGAs). The power to eradicate polio from Nigeria now rests particularly with LGA Chairmen and Traditional Leaders. National & State Government, and GPEI Partners, must do everything to support them. There are green shoots suggesting that Nigeria’s Polio Programme is improving. These need rapidly to bloom, otherwise Nigeria will reinfect other countries as it has done before.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 December 2012 19:05

Aziz Memon, polio hero

In the middle of the slums of Site Town, Karachi, in southern Pakistan, lies an oasis of hope – a vaccine delivery centre that also houses the community’s only school. Built into the programme of this school are toilets, clean water and a food programme to ensure that even the hungriest children get at least one meal a day. Of the community and for the community, the vaccinators stationed at the centre have the trust of local parents, and dole out the polio vaccine even outside of the traditional mass immunization campaigns.

Behind this community centre is Aziz Memon, the Chairman of Rotary Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee. He and his organisation have set up an outstanding programme that is improving the prospects of Site Town’s children. More

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 November 2012 17:02

Meeting of the Polio Laboratory Network

From 10-12 September 2012, a Meeting of the Polio Laboratory Network for the Region of the Americas was held at the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The main objectives of the meeting were to: review the status of the Polio Laboratory Network of the Americas; review and discuss recent advances in virological and molecular methodologies used in the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN); and discuss issues relevant to the functioning of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Laboratory Network and the management of laboratories. Representatives of nine out of the 11 polio laboratories in the Region, as well as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and PAHO’s Immunization Program participated in the meeting.


The SAGE met this week in Geneva, Switzerland

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) met this week in Geneva, Switzerland.  Among other topics relating to immunization, SAGE reviewed a detailed summary of the current status of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and impact of the national emergency action plans in the remaining three endemic countries.  For more on SAGE, please click hereFor 2012 PAHO's Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases (TAG) recommendations, please click here. 

Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 17:01

PAHO Celebrates more than 20 years without Polio in the Americas and Calls to Maintain High Vaccination Coverage

The Region of the Americas recorded no cases of wild polio virus since 1992 thanks to the efforts of the countries of the region, and technical cooperation of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), by vaccinating children and maintaining high vaccination coverage and sustained surveillance.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 October 2012 09:45
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