February 2017                              Download [pdf]        
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Dear polio eradication supporter,

February brought the first reports of children paralyzed by polio in 2017. While significant progress has been made in Afghanistan and globally, the magic number is zero when it comes to polio, as Bill and Melinda Gates say in their annual letter. Reaching that zero will require strong surveillance systems and high-quality immunisation activities everywhere.

AFGHANISTAN REPORTS FIRST POLIO CASES OF 2017

© WHO

A young girl in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became the first person to be paralysed by polio in 2017, and a second polio case has been reported from Helmand Province. Strong disease surveillance is enabling these cases to be identified.  While most of the country is still polio-free, new and effective tactics are helping to overcome remaining challenges, such as low routine immunisation and insecurity. Close coordination with Pakistan will be key to crossing the finish line.

GATES ANNUAL LETTER HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS AGAINST POLIO

Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, released their Annual Letter in February, highlighting gains that have been made in improving children’s health around the world. The letter was addressed to Warren Buffett, who donated the bulk of his fortune to the foundation 10 years ago. As Bill and Melinda say, the “magic number is zero” when thinking about many health challenges today, and polio is the closest to reaching this goal.

SURVEILLANCE FOR TYPE 2 POLIOVIRUS CONTINUES AFTER VACCINE SWITCH

© BMGF

Last April, the world switched from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, following the eradication of type-2 poliovirus. Following the switch, the polio programme has intensified surveillance for the type-2 strain. Identifying and quickly responding to environmental samples that test positive for the strain is essential to securing a lasting, polio-free world.

Petition Calls for Canada’s Continued Leadership on Polio

A petition organised by Rotary International is calling for Canada to continue their financial and political leadership in global polio eradication efforts.
[See more

Bill Gates to Speak at Rotary Convention

Rotary International has announced that Bill Gates will be speaking at its June convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
[See more]

Pakistan Official Calls for Last Push against Polio

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq urged the continuation of high-quality polio eradication work across Pakistan and applauded the 94% decrease in the number of cases since 2014. [See more]

Working Towards a Virus-Free Polio Vaccine

Research has produced stable polio vaccine using virus-like particles in the place of live poliovirus. [See more]

POLIO IN NUMBERS

Wild poliovirus in 2017

- Global Total:   3 (2)
- Global WPV1: 3 (2)
- Global WPV3: 0 (0)
 

Endemic: 3 (2)

- Afghanistan: 2 (0)
- Pakistan: 1 (2)
- Nigeria: 0 (0)
  
Data as of 22 February 2017. Numbers in brackets represent data this time in 2016.

Current case map

POLIO IN THE NEWS

Humanosphere: ‘All systems in place’ for Afghanistan to eradicate polio, says WHO
Independent: India polio-free for three years: meet the people fighting to keep it that way
Reuters: Yemen launches polio vaccination drive amid fears disease could reappear
The National: Call for US$ 1.3 billion to eradicate polio

 

FUNDING UPDATES

UNICEF received US$ 33.3 million from the Government of Japan for humanitarian funding. The financial support will be instrumental for the Lake Chad regional polio outbreak response and for the ongoing efforts to halt the outbreak and prevent any further spread of polio in the region.

The European Union and the Federal Government of Nigeria signed a historic partnership agreement for polio eradication and health systems strengthening. This partnership will provide €15 million for critical polio immunization activities until 2019.

UNICEF received US$ 12 million from the His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The funding will be used for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
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