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Polio Highlight

Polio – A global emergency

As polio cases escalate in Nigeria and Pakistan, the world is facing an emergency – a resurgence of polio if the virus is not eradicated once and for all. If the global effort to eradicate polio fails, within just a decade 250,000 children each year could be paralysed or die as a result of the disease.

Prevention is so simple - just a couple of drops can save a life – yet the world has so far struggled to eradicate the disease once and for all. It is now or never for polio eradication.

Aware of the necessity of finishing the job as quickly as possible, key polio-affected countries and partner agencies of the GPEI have ramped up their organization-wide dedication to the disease’s eradication. Heads of agencies will step up their level of oversight over the programme, and accountability measures are being put in place to indentify both underperforming and outstanding staff.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have moved their headquarters-level polio work to their Emergency Operations Center, and the polio department of the World Health Organization is currently working from the Strategic Health Operations Centre until a new high-tech operations centre for polio is fully functional by end-January. As key countries ramp up their emergency action plans, these operations centres enable closer support, real-time data sharing and more, as seen during natural disasters and pandemics.

Source: Polio Global Eradication Initiative, available at: http://www.polioeradication.org/Mediaroom/NewsletterPolioNews.aspx

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 06:54

India records one year without polio cases

India appears to have interrupted wild poliovirus transmission, today completing one year without polio since its last case, in a 2-year-old girl in the state of West Bengal, on 13 January 2011
Read more here: http://bit.ly/PolioHL12-01

Source: WHO - News release, January 12, 2012

News on Polio Eradication from Pakistan

In Pakistan, His Excellency Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has announced sweeping changes to address the drastic rise in new polio cases in 2011. At a meeting of the National Task Force on Polio Eradication chaired by the Prime Minister, a strengthened and reinvigorated National Emergency Action Plan was launched. As a first step, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of Ms Shahnaz Wazir Ali as the Prime Minister's Focal Person for Polio. Ms Wazir Ali has already had a long and successful public service career, being Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector and member of the national assembly of Pakistan. Her appointment as the Prime Minister's Focal Person for Polio was widely applauded by partner agencies at country, regional and global levels.

The Prime Minister clearly underlined that activities and accountability needed to be tracked and monitored at the provincial level. To this effect, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Governor of KP, the Chief Minister of Sindh and Balochistan's Provincial Minister for Law all provided clear assurances that their offices would provide greater oversight to rapidly improve polio operations. Senior officials will be appointed by the Chief Ministers and the Governor of KP for each province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Chief Ministers and the Governor of KP will personally review the latest epidemiology on a monthly basis and take corrective measures as necessary. Primary focus is on ensuring full accountability of district and Union-Council level staff.

Source: www.polioeradication.org

 
Last Updated on Friday, 02 December 2011 07:10

REPORT OF THE GPEI (Global Polio Eradication Initiative) INDEPENDENT MONITORING BOARD

Executive summary below; full text is at:
http://www.polioeradication.org/Portals/0/Document/Aboutus/Governance/IMB/4IMBMeeting/IMBReportOctober2011.pdf

1. Every country with persistent polio transmission, with the exception of India and Angola, has had more cases so far in 2011 than they had by the same time last year. Chad, Afghanistan and DR Congo have already exceeded their entire 2010 total.

2. The rate of occurrence of new outbreaks serves as an ongoing reminder that many countries in the world are under threat from the ease with which polio could be imported across their borders.

3. The 2010-12 Strategic Plan set out four intermediate milestones. Just two are on track. One is highly unlikely to be attained within the planned timeframe. One has missed its deadline and remains elusive.

4. The GPEI is not on track to interrupt polio transmission by the end of 2012 as it planned to. Indeed, unless the fundamental problems highlighted in this report can be addressed, there is a substantial risk that stopping transmission will take far longer than the 15 months that remain between now and the end of 2012.

5. Polio eradication could still be achieved by the end of 2012 if the weaknesses of the Program at both country and global level can be swiftly corrected, and if political commitment and financial support for the GPEI can be bolstered.

6. This report assesses progress in each of the countries with persistent transmission. With the exception of India, none of the endemic countries is making progress at the rate it needs to:

• India has a good chance of interrupting transmission this year

• Afghanistan’s program is strongly managed and innovative, but is still unable to reach one-third of children in 13 high-risk districts

• Nigeria has slipped back on progress made in 2010; it needs to demonstrably regain the commitment of political and traditional leaders

• Pakistan has made little tangible advance over the last 18 months; a fundamental strategy review is needed.

7. Having missed their end-2010 goal, the three countries with re-established transmission are now showing some progress, though the end is not in sight for any of them yet:

• Angola is making good progress, but Luanda remains a real vulnerability

• Chad now has the technical capacity that it desperately needed, and must now deploy this to good effect

• Indicators in DR Congo remain off-target but are moving in the right direction; the potential for election-related disruption is of great concern.

8. The surprises of unexpected outbreaks continue to undermine confidence in the Program. China had been free of polio for a decade until its current outbreak. The detection of a case in Kenya is particularly alarming, because it represents a failure to deal with long-standing transmission between Kenya and Uganda since 2009. The Horn of Africa remains at particular risk of further outbreaks.

9. In addition to our country-specific findings, we describe five problems that run as common threads through the global Program, reducing its chances of success. They relate to culture and approach. Tackling each will require challenging introspection for the Program, but will produce great gains. The style and approach to management of the global Program needs reorientation.

10. Our view remains that polio eradication needs to be treated as a global health emergency. It needs more funding, and broader, more engaged global political commitment – particularly from non-affected countries.

The challenge remains great, but the other option is to allow this terrible disease to resurge.

 

Polio Funding News

Over US$100 million was pledged for polio eradication at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on 29 October. Australia led the charge with AUS$ 50 million over four years in new funding, joined by Canada, Nigeria and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information visit http://www.polioeradication.org/tabid/408/iid/172/Default.aspx

Source: WHO

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 November 2011 08:42
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