April 24, 2012-- Rotary International has recognized His Excellency Goodluck
Jonathan, president of Nigeria, as a Polio Eradication Champion for his
leadership and dedication to a polio-free world.
Jonathan on April 23rd, by incoming Chairman of The Rotary Foundation, Wilf Wilkinson,
the Polio Eradication Champion Award is the highest honor Rotary presents to
heads of state, health agency leaders and others who have made significant
contributions to the global polio eradication effort.
“On behalf of
Rotary’s 1.2 million members worldwide, including nearly 6,000 in Nigeria
alone, I would like to express the solidarity of Rotary
members in standing firmly beside President Jonathan and the Nigerian people in
the polio eradication effort. I am honored to recognize the commitment of
President Goodluck Jonathan for support of a polio-free Nigeria, and a
polio-free world,” said Wilkinson.
Jonathan’s term, Nigeria posted a 95 percent decline in polio cases in 2010 as
compared with 2009. However, 2011 saw a resurgence of the disease (62 reported
cases), emphasizing the need for continued vigilance in the fight against
his attention to polio eradication with the launch of Nigeria’s Emergency
Action Plan – a comprehensive strategy to accelerate progress toward polio
eradication at every level. To support the plan, Jonathan announced that he
would significantly increase funding for polio eradication activities: US$30
million annually for 2012 and 2013.
Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award, Jonathan joins a roster of
distinguished leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
and former Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Asif Ali Zardari of
Pakistan, and former Chairperson of the African Union Commission Alpha Oumar
infectious disease that can cause paralysis and sometimes death, polio still
strikes children in parts of Africa and South Asia. As there is no cure, the best
protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child
can be protected for life. Globally, the
number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 children annually in the
mid-1980s to fewer than 700 reported cases all last year, a decline of more
than 99 percent. Yet, challenges remain in the three polio-endemic countries of
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
polio eradication its top philanthropic goal in 1985. As the volunteer arm of the Global Polio
Eradication Initiative -- a public/private partnership including the World
Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- Rotary has contributed more than US$
1.2 billion to ending polio, including some US$145 million to support polio eradication
activities in Nigeria.
the African Press Organization on behalf of Rotary International.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 05:03
text, in English and French, is at http://www.who.int/wer/2012/wer8712.pdf
During 2011, polio eradication efforts in Africa have seen both progress and setbacks. While new
outbreaks in 8 countries were interrupted—in 6 countries within 6 months of
confirmation—WPV transmission persisted in Angola,
Chad, DRC, and Nigeria. The
number of WPV cases surged in Chad
during 2011 compared with 2010.
The 2010–2012 GPEI Strategic Plan established the following
milestones to track progress: (1) stopping WPVtransmission following
importation in countries with outbreaks in 2009 by mid-2010; (2) stopping WPV
transmission following importation in countries with outbreaks in subsequent
years within <6 months after confirmation of the outbreak; (3) stopping WPV
transmission in countries with re-established transmission by the end of 2010;
(4) stopping WPV transmission in at least 2 of the 4 WPV-endemic countries by
the end of 2011; and (5) stopping WPV transmission in all countries by the end
Substantial obstacles to implementation of the 2010–2012
Strategic Plan in Africa have prevented
achievement of important milestones. The first milestone was met for 14 of the
15 outbreaks occurring in 2009. However, transmission persisted during
2009–2011 in adjoining areas of Kenya
indicating substantial gaps in field surveillance quality; these gaps are being
Many areas in other countries of the Horn of Africa remain at risk of outbreaks following WPV
importation, due to immunity and surveillance quality gaps. For example, civil
conflict has prevented vaccination of around 1 million children aged <5
years in south-central Somalia
for the past 18 months.
With re-established transmission continuing into 2011in Angola, Chad, and DRC, the GPEI failed to
meet the third milestone. Persistent circulation in Angola
caused outbreaks in Western DRC in 2011, from where northeastern Angola was
re-infected. Seven years after WPV was first imported from India (2005), Angola now appears to be on-track
to finally interrupt transmission.
However, to reliably document and maintain interruption
of transmission, Angola
also needs to strengthen surveillance and continue to conduct SIAs. In Chad, transmission of WPV3 of Nigerian origin
was re-established from November 2007 to March 2011, followed by re-established
transmission of WPV1 (also imported from Nigeria) since September 2010.
Prolonged re-established transmission in eastern DRC since
2006 and new outbreaks in western DRC are primarily due to chronic gaps in
surveillance and low population immunity. An important additional risk factor
in eastern DRC is refusal of vaccination among parents from specific religious
communities. In an effort to interrupt finally the transmission of
re-established WPV in Chad
and DRC, the number of national and international staff working on polio
eradication was increased substantially in 2011 in both countries.
Regarding the fourth milestone of the 2010–2012 Strategic
Plan, India has not detected a
poliomyelitis case since mid-January 2011 and is no longer considered to be an
endemic country. However, setbacks occurred in Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country in Africa
that has never eliminated transmission of indigenous WPV. The GPEI’s
Independent Monitoring Board indicated that Nigeria
pose the greatest risks to achieving the 2012 goal of interrupting the
transmission of WPV globally.
Multiple polio outbreaks in previously polio-free African
countries since 2003 have been traced to WPV imported from Nigeria. The
goals of regional and global polio eradication will never be attained as long
as WPV circulation continues in Nigeria.
Operational problems in implementing high quality supplementary immunization
activities (SIAs) continue to be the main reason why children remain
unvaccinated in northern Nigeria.
New serious security challenges arose in Nigeria during
2011, further increasing the existing operational and managerial challenges to
conducting SIAs with high coverage. In a concerted effort with GPEI partner
agencies, the federal government of Nigeria is developing an emergency
action plan aimed at restoring the programmatic momentum attained during
Many innovative approaches to improve the microplanning
and implementation of SIAs are being instituted. In May 2012, the World Health
Assembly will consider a resolution declaring polio eradication an emergency
for global public health. Urgent action is needed to improve the quality of SIAs
implementation in the polio-affected countries of Nigeria,
and DRC. All other countries in Africa need to urgently improve the sensitivity
of surveillance systems, and attain high levels of population immunity to
reliably detect circulating or imported WPV and to prevent or limit the impact
of new outbreaks.Source:WHO
As the countries of the world
advance towards the eradication of wild poliovirus, it is necessary to maintain
good quality laboratory results and improve the timeliness of polio
To achieve this, the Global
Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) of the World Health Organization (WHO)
recommended the implementation of a new algorithm for viral isolation, using the
cells RD and L2OB simultaneously, permitting the report of results within 14
days of receipt of the stool specimen in the laboratory (previously, 28 days
were considered appropriate).
PAHO continues to be committed
to the global eradication of polio; therefore it will monitor the implementation
of this algorithm, and update its Weekly
Polio Bulletin in order to show compliance with laboratory indicators.
For more information, please refer to the "Supplement to the WHO Polio Laboratory Manual" available below: http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/laboratory_polio_resources/en/index.html
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 11:04
27 February 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today launched a national polio vaccination campaign in Angola, where the crippling disease has returned despite being eradicated in 2001, and praised the Government for its leadership on the issue.
Angola provides a large majority of the funding needed to vaccinate the country’s children.
“I am deeply grateful to President [Jose Eduardo] dos Santos his personal commitment to this cause,” Mr. Ban told community members participating in the launch in Viana, near the capital city of Luanda.
Angola had eradicated polio in 2001, but the disease returned within the following four years.
The Secretary-General said this showed the importance of responding to any new cases and immunizing every child against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Polio eradication must be treated as a public health emergency,” said Mr. Ban, stressing the need to also keep track of the situation, improve the water supply, and a create a clean environment and strong surveillance system.
He stressed that all Angolans, “health workers, volunteers, mothers and fathers,” have to play their part to rid the country of polio.
“In the future, generations will thank you for your work today,” he said.
The Secretary-General also helped administer vaccine drops to some children. “The vaccine is so easy to administer, even I have done it,” he said.
Also today, Mr. Ban held meetings with the President, the Foreign Minister and civil society, discussing, among other issues, how to strengthen the partnership between the UN and Angola.
He commended the authorities for progress on the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and encouraged them to push even harder, and to work toward a more equitable distribution of wealth.
Source: UN News Centre