The distinction was given for the contributions the mechanism has made to the regional elimination of polio, by ensuring access to safe, quality, and affordable vaccines.
Cali, Colombia, 24 October 2022 (PAHO) – On World Polio Day, Rotary International through the Rotary Clubs of Colombia, awarded the PAHO Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines with the Polio Plus mention for its contributions to the elimination of poliomyelitis.
"This recognition is an incentive to continue helping Colombia and the rest of the countries of the region to protect new generations from polio," said PAHO/WHO Representative in Colombia, Gina Tambini Goméz. "The PAHO Revolving Fund has been and continues to be instrumental in the regional elimination of polio, ensuring the availability of safe, quality, and affordable vaccines to bring vaccination to everyone, everywhere," he added.
In Colombia, the last case of wild poliovirus was registered in 1991 in the municipality of Arjona, Bolívar and since then there have been two cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus in immunocompromised children in Marulanda, Caldas (2009 ) and Tuluá, Valle (2018). On the other hand, vaccination coverage with three doses in children under 1 year of age at the national level remained above 90% in the last decade, except in 2020 and 2021 when the country reached coverage of 87.5% and 86.1% respectively.
In addition to the mention of PAHO in the category "Personalities and/ or social and/or entities who, through their work, have made contributions to the eradication of alcohol in our country and/or the world," Rotary clubs award three other Polio Plus mentions to different Colombian personalities and institutions.
In its letter announcing the award to the PAHO Revolving Fund, Rotary explains that the Polio Plus mentions are dedicated to recognizing the work of the country's vaccination teams. However, they say, they have learned that "behind the vaccine and a vaccinator there is a great management that requires negotiating capacity in the most difficult areas, to achieve access to vaccines and make it possible for them to reach our children optimally and safely."
The PAHO Revolving Fund is the mechanism for the joint purchase of vaccines from 41 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and each year provides access to vaccines and supplies with an investment of approximately 1,000 million dollars.
So far in 2022, Colombia has acquired through the Revolving Fund more than 28 million doses of several vaccines and more than 30 million syringes to cover its vaccination needs.