On 2 June 2014, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) released its ninth quarterly report assessing progress toward polio eradication, including recommendations to overcome challenges and providing an independent assessment of the progress being made towards the eradication of polio. The IMB meets twice a year, and consists of nine global experts, sitting in their personal capacity.
Key findings from the report include:
During 2013 and so far in 2014, countries and their partners have made considerable strides responding to outbreaks and creating innovative solutions to end transmission in endemic countries.
Of note, Nigeria is showing encouraging progress and innovations in its program. Afghanistan, too, has made strong progress, and the IMB recommends continued improvement in operational quality and access in the southern and eastern regions.
However, the IMB expresses alarm about the situation in Pakistan, noting the high likelihood that transmission of virus will continue into 2015. The IMB has recommended further strengthening of emergency management of polio eradication in Pakistan given the declaration of public health emergency of international concern under the International Health Regulation (IHR).
The report emphasizes the urgent need in Nigeria to manage the risks of upcoming elections and recent exacerbation of insecurity.
While the IMB commends the outbreak responses in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, it also expresses concern about the slow response in Central Africa, and recommends stronger global capacity and processes for outbreak response.
The IMB welcomes the WHO Director-General’s declaration of a public health emergency of international concern and recommendations for vaccination of travellers leaving polio-exporting and –infected countries.
The report calls for stronger coordination among partners in providing vaccinators and social mobilizers with appropriate communications skills.
IMB encouraged the program to develop more clear formats to provide financial and budget information that can be understood easily and followed by all stakeholders.
The GPEI would like to thank IMB members for their thorough feedback, which is instrumental in improving our work and overcoming the remaining obstacles to a polio-free world. Many of the recommendations are already being implemented, and others are under active planning.
The GPEI also joins the IMB and the rest of the world in mourning the passing of Dr. Ciro de Quadros, a member of the IMB and a true hero in the effort to protect all children from vaccine-preventable diseases.