Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2013

Scientists: GPEI strategy for polio eradication possible by 2018

Polio eradication by 2018?

According to a team of more than 400 international scientists, that’s the goal of a new strategy by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) released April 11.

The Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan requires that everyone in the global community do their part to include:

  • Scientists to develop new and better tools to accelerate and sustain eradication, including low-cost IPV options, and to continue providing technical support to endemic countries.
  • Partners, including GPEI and vaccine manufacturers, to ensure sufficient supply of and access to different types of vaccines required for eradication, including IPV use in resource-poor countries.
  • Endemic country leaders and international program officials to stay fully committed and accountable to stop transmission. They can build on emergency plans to increase accountability and strengthen campaign quality. They can continue to develop regional- and community-specific solutions to bottlenecks such as vaccine refusals.
  • Endemic country governments and partners to strengthen security measures and deepen engagement with community and religious leaders to promote demand and protect vaccination teams and volunteers, in light of recent attacks on health workers across Pakistan and Nigeria.
  • International partners and national programs to strengthen linkages across polio vaccination efforts, routine immunization and other initiatives, including measles prevention, maternal and child health and nutrition, to address the broad health needs of communities.
  • Partners, and national and global programs, to commit to strengthen routine immunization with the same urgency, robust technical and financial support and clear measurement indicators.
  • Partners to fully fund the Strategic Plan. Funding gaps in 2012 led to cancelled and scaled-back vaccination campaigns in 24 countries, leaving children in these areas more susceptible to polio.
  • Civil society to continue to support efforts to end polio forever.

Polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – and has re-established transmission in three countries which were previously polio-free (Angola, Chad and Democratic Republic of the Congo). Several more countries had ongoing outbreaks in 2011 due to importations of poliovirus.

With just 223 cases reported in 2012, and only 16 cases reported so far this year, compared to more than 350,000 in 1988, the world has a narrow window of opportunity to end this disease.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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