MAY 2015                             Download [pdf]        
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Dear polio eradication supporter,

 
This May, the broader value of polio eradication was clearer than ever. In Nepal, polio workers have been helping to support communities devastated by the earthquake, contributing their experience to other health programmes. In Liberia, immunization campaigns resumed as the country recovers from Ebola, to protect children against measles and polio in communities that are still vulnerable following a year of weakened systems. And at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, health leaders and member states from around the globe recommitted to eradicating polio and ensuring its legacy.




 

POLIO STAFF RESPOND TO NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

Following last month’s earthquake in Nepal, polio staff and infrastructure are providing essential support to emergency relief efforts across the country. In the immediate aftermath, polio personnel conducted rapid assessments of the urgent needs of affected communities. To stave off infectious disease, polio teams are helping to plan and carry out vaccination campaigns for measles and rubella, and are contributing technical expertise to assist in disease surveillance. Around the world, polio workers spend as much as half their time on broader public health efforts, ensuring that investments in polio eradication go further to support other critical health goals. 

A health worker gives measles vaccines at a health camp in the Kathmandu valley in the aftermath of the earthquake. © UNICEF
 

EBOLA AFFECTED LIBERIA RESUMES POLIO VACCINATION ACTIVITIES

In May, more than 600 000 children across Liberia began to receive life-saving vaccines for the first time since immunization was suspended during the height of the Ebola crisis. Filling this immunity gap is an important first step to rebuild health infrastructure and restore services in the wake of the devastating epidemic. Rapidly reaching all children in the Ebola-affected countries with polio vaccines is essential to address the immunity gap from the past year, prevent an outbreak and continue progress toward a polio-free Africa.

A baby in Liberia receives the oral polio vaccine © UNMEER
 

WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION ON POLIO ERADICATION

The governing forum of the World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly (WHA), met this month and adopted a landmark resolution recommitting to stopping polio and preparing for the phased withdrawal of oral polio vaccines. Health Ministers from around the world noted in particular the strong progress across Africa and in stopping a devastating outbreak affecting the Middle East despite conflict and large-scale population movements affecting the region. Delegates also noted the tremendous efforts being undertaken this year in Pakistan.

Member states and health ministers gathered at the World Health Assembly this month. © WHO

 

 THE ROCKY ROAD TO ZERO

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) released its 11th report giving an independent assessment of progress toward polio eradication.  The report stated that “2015 has brought a spirit of optimism to the programme,” but offered a reminder that there is much work left to be done to turn tentative progress into solid gains. Read more.

POLIO IN THE NEWS

 
Canadian Press: “Polio eradication campaign has 'never been in a better place': UNICEF”
 
Reuters: “Polio eradicators hail historic progress, aim to 'finish the job”

Washington Post: “Making polio history”
 
 

POLIO IN NUMBERS

Wild poliovirus in 2015

- Global Total:  25 (84) 
- Global WPV1: 25 (84)
- Global WPV3: 0 (0)
 

Endemic: 25 (74)

- Afghanistan: 2 (4)
- Nigeria: 0 (3) 
- Pakistan: 23 (67)
 

Importation Countries: 0 (10)


Data as of 28 May 2015. Numbers in brackets represent data this time in 2014.

Current case map
 
Read the monthly message from new Polio Oversight Board chair Dr Tom Frieden.
 

FUNDING UPDATES

CDC has provided a grant of US$ 50.9 million to WHO for polio eradication activities, including technical assistance, the polio laboratory network, AFP surveillance strengthening, vaccination campaigns in priority countries, and environmental surveillance expansion.

Monaco continues its long-standing, critical support by contributing €150 000 to polio eradication activities in Niger as well as €20 000 to worldwide polio operations.


 

Countries Introducing the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into Routine Immunization systems this month

Madagascar and Morocco introduced IPV this month.
 
87 countries have introduced IPV to date (45% of the global total due to introduce in 2015).
 
12 countries are scheduled to introduce IPV in June. 
 
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