AUGUST 2015                             Download [pdf]        
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Dear polio eradication supporter,

 
This month, we reflect on the incredible work being done at a global and local level to move us closer to a polio-free world. Just a few weeks after Nigeria marked one year since the most recently reported case of wild poliovirus, we also saw the same milestone across the entire African continent with a year since the most recently reported case in Somalia. We have been making great strides in the introduction of the inactivated polio vaccine, with more than half of the world’s new-borns now receiving at least one dose through their routine immunization systems. Finally, as Afghanistan’s polio programme works to bring the world across the finish line for polio eradication, we recognize the essential work of some of the individuals who are doing all they can to stop polio once and for all.
 
 

IS AFRICA POLIO-FREE?

On 11 August, for the first time in history, the entire African continent marked one year with no reported cases of wild poliovirus. This comes on the heels of the last reported case of wild polio virus in Africa’s last polio endemic country, Nigeria, in July. But this progress is fragile. Samples remain in the laboratories from this one-year period which must be tested for the virus before we can be sure there has been no case, a process which takes around six weeks. Before the World Health Organization’s African Region can be certified polio-free, all countries must be free of the virus with reliable surveillance in place for at least the next two years. It is more important than ever that global, national and local leaders stay committed, that efforts remain focused on ensuring high-quality surveillance systems, and on  reaching every last un- and under-immunized child.

Every single child must be vaccinated for Africa to become polio-free.  © UNICEF

 

INTRODUCING THE INACTIVATED POLIO VACCINE (IPV): GLOBAL STATUS UPDATE

The global introduction of IPV is the most ambitious vaccine introduction in history, and will boost immunity and protect children from the risk of all types of poliovirus. As we continue to see progress toward stopping transmission of wild polio, important steps are simultaneously being taken to stop emergence and transmission of the rare instances of vaccine-derived polio. Between January and July this year, 20 countries added the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which means that 51% of the global birth cohort is now receiving at least one dose through their routine immunization systems. On the 22 August, Pakistan became the second polio-endemic country to introduce IPV. All countries at high risk of wild poliovirus or the emergence of vaccine-derived polioviruses are expected to introduce IPV by the end of 2015.

A health worker and child at the introduction of the inactivated polio vaccine in the Philippines. © Sanofi Pasteur/DV Photography
 

THE PEOPLE AT THE HEART OF POLIO ERADICATION IN AFGHANISTAN

 
Securing a polio-free future for the children of Afghanistan depends on the collective efforts of healthcare workers, religious leaders, campaign monitors, pharmacists, volunteers, parents and many others. In this series of photographs, meet the people at the heart of polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan: three-year-old polio victim Ashoqullah; Senior Pediatrician Dr. Mohammad Sidiq; pharmacist Shah Mahmmod Qurishi; vaccine coordinator Hamid Ullah; just a few of the 65,000 people working tirelessly to stop polio across the country. 
 

A child in Afghanistan shows the dot of ink on her finger that shows she has received the polio vaccine.  © WHO/J.Jalali
 

GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL

 
The annual Global Citizen Festival will take place on 26 September in New York City’s Central Park. The 2015 festival coincides with the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

CNN ON NIGERIA'S PROGRESS AGAINST POLIO
 

In this month’s episode of CNN’s “Vital Signs”, Dr Sanjay Gupta joins a team of health workers to highlight the heroic efforts and tremendous challenges to vaccinating every child in Nigeria. [Read More]
 

POLIO IN THE NEWS

New York Times: A Milestone in Africa: No Polio Cases in a Year
 
The Guardian: Africa's year free of polio is giant step towards eradication
 
The Washington Post: The end of polio in Afghanistan?
 

POLIO IN NUMBERS

Wild poliovirus in 2015

- Global Total:  37 (148) 
- Global WPV1: 37 (148)
- Global WPV3: 0 (0)
 

Endemic: 37 (131)

- Afghanistan: 8 (8)
- Nigeria: 0 (6) 
- Pakistan: 29 (117)
 

Importation Countries: 0 (17)


Data as of 27 August 2015. Numbers in brackets represent data this time in 2014.

Current case map
 
The monthly statement from Polio Oversight Board chair Dr Tom Frieden highlights the importance of continued commitment to stopping wild poliovirus in Nigeria and of stopping all outbreaks of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus.

 

FUNDING UPDATES

Rotary International has given US$ 19.7 million to UNICEF for polio immunization campaigns in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and South Sudan.

USAID has provided US$ 2 050 000 in support of polio eradication activities in South Sudan to enhance surveillance activities and supplementary immunization activities. This contribution will greatly benefit the country’s efforts to sustain the progress made towards polio eradication.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the World Health Organization with US$ 546 640 to strengthen acute flaccid paralysis surveillance in Central African Republic and US$ 200 804 for enhancing surveillance in South Sudan.

 

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

Chad, Macedonia, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea introduced IPV this month.
 
More than half of the world’s birth cohort is now receiving at least one dose of IPV.
 
Thirteen countries are due to introduce IPV in September: Afghanistan, CAR, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Iran, Jamaica, Nauru, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu.
 
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