NOVEMBER 2018             PDF version
Dear polio eradication supporter,

As we near the year’s end, the three remaining endemic countries continue their intense emergency efforts to stop polio. At the heart of these campaigns are the millions of health workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help reach every last child with the polio vaccine. From the vaccinators who helped eliminate polio in India in 2011 to those running immunization campaigns in Afghanistan last month, the programme is grateful for the continuing dedication to ending the disease for good. The promise of a new year will be a good time to renew our efforts and use innovative approaches, with health workers on the ground leading the way.
Circulating vaccine derived poliovirus cases 2018*

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 19 (10)
Niger: 8 (0)

Nigeria: 27 (0)
Papua New Guinea: 25 (0)
Somalia: 12 (0)
Syria: 0 (70)

More information: Polio this week

*Data as of 29 November 2018, compared to the same point in 2017.

Polio remains a public health emergency 

So close to ending polio for good, it is more important than ever to maintain momentum against the virus. WHO’s emergency committee affirmed this need for urgency last week by announcing that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The committee’s experts cited complacency as the biggest risk, and added continuing challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the spread of VDPVs as key factors in their decision. They warned that without strong efforts, polio could return to paralyze 200 000-300 000  children every year. The committee urged donors, partners, and affected countries to marshal even greater political and financial will to finish polio once and for all. Read more about this important decision. 

Commission proposes updated process for certifying polio eradication

What does it mean to truly “end polio”? The Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC) met last month to answer that question and propose an updated process for how to certify the world polio-free. From wild poliovirus to VDPVs, learn more about the proposed steps to declare an end to all polioviruses and the suffering and paralysis they cause. 

Polio outbreak stopped in Syria

Last year’s vaccine-derived polio (VDPV) outbreak in eastern Syria has been successfully stopped, according to global experts. To curb the spread of the virus, health workers used innovative approaches to deliver vaccines despite widespread conflict, insecurity and other significant barriers to reaching children. Their tireless efforts continue today, as vaccinators work to reduce the risk of future polio outbreaks. Read more on this important news and hear first hand from an expert on Syria’s outbreak response.
Vaccinators intensify efforts in Afghanistan:

What does it take to reach 5.3 million children in just five days? Catch the highlights from Afghanistan’s latest push to protect at-risk populations. More
From polio victim to vaccination advocate:

Meet six-year-old Gafo, Papua New Guinea’s first polio case in 18 years. Learn how Gafo’s story helped launch a nation-wide outbreak response, and about his dream to continue protecting children like himself from vaccine-preventable diseases. More
How India eliminated polio:

Check out this UN Dispatch podcast to hear how India was declared entirely polio-free in 2014, despite constituting over 60% of global polio cases in 2009. More

  • As part of its 54 million Australian dollars pledge for GPEI operations over 2015-2021, Australia provided 6 million Australian dollars. 
  • UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan for a contribution of 4.5 million US dollars for OPV procurement in Pakistan.
  • Rusy and Purviz Shroff Charitable Foundation (raised by the Hong Kong NatComm) provided 192 307 US dollars to UNICEF for polio eradication efforts.
  • The UN Foundation continued its long term support by providing 263 668 US dollars to UNICEF for OPV procurement in Pakistan.

Gafo, the first polio victim in Papua New Guinea in 18 years, now serves as an inspiring face for routine immunization efforts alongside doctors and community members. © WHO PNG/ J. Rivaca





Copyright © 2018 Global Polio Eradication Initiative, All rights reserved.

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