FEBRUARY 2015                             Download [pdf]        
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Dear polio eradication supporter,

This February, we continued to see the importance of international commitment and cooperation in progress toward a polio-free world and improving health everywhere. The International Health Regulations' Emergency Committee met to review the Temporary Recommendations made last year, concluding that polio continues to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. A group of Indian surveillance experts from the National Polio Surveillance Programme demonstrated the polio legacy in action, travelling to Sierra Leone to strengthen surveillance for the Ebola outbreak response. The largest coordinated vaccine roll-out in history continues on schedule with 120 countries due to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine by the end of 2015.


The Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations met for the fourth time in February to review the Temporary Recommendations enacted in May 2014 to help stop the international spread of polio. The committee agreed that the recommendations made last year should remain in place, and that a new category of recommendations would be included for States no longer infected with wild poliovirus but which continue to be vulnerable to international spread. The committee also concluded that Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Pakistan should enhance regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of wild poliovirus and vaccination of refugees, travellers and mobile population groups. 


Dr Deepak Kumar and his team of surveillance experts investigate a death alert in Sierra Leone. © NPSP/Dr Deepak Kumar

Strong surveillance and data analysis were essential tools in the historic achievement of eradicating polio from India. Now the lessons learned in these efforts, such as case investigation, contact tracing, data collection and analysis are helping in the fight against Ebola. Twenty six polio surveillance experts from the National Polio Surveillance Programme in India are currently deployed in Sierra Leone and Liberia to contribute their passion and expertise to strengthening the outbreak response effort. This demonstrates the incredible legacy that the polio infrastructure can leave in other countries, to strengthen the capacity of local health workers, and the ability to combat other diseases.


The first child in the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, receives the inactivated polio vaccine. © WHO/AFRO

This year will mark the largest vaccine introduction in history as 120 countries add the inactivated polio vaccine to their routine immunization programmes. It is part of ongoing preparatory activities for the phased removal of oral polio vaccines in early 2016, a critical element of the plan to achieve a polio-free world. With effective international support, introduction of the inactivated vaccine will contribute to broader efforts of the polio programme to strengthen routine immunization systems. This will help to ensure that more children around the world receive life-saving vaccines. This month, Nigeria became the first of the remaining polio-endemic countries to introduce IPV into the routine immunization system. 


CNN: Big data saves lives
The Guardian: Africa close to wiping out wild polio after six months free of disease
Voice of America: Researchers think synthetic vaccine could eliminate polio


Wild poliovirus in 2015 

- Global Total:  10 (24) 
- Global WPV1: 10 (24)
- Global WPV3: 0 (0)

Endemic: 10 (24) 

- Afghanistan: 1 (3)
- Nigeria: 0 (0) 
- Pakistan: 9 (2)

Importation Countries: 0 (0)

Data as of 24 February 2015. Numbers in brackets represent data this time in 2014.

Current case map


This month, progress towards polio eradication and remaining challenges were reviewed in several polio reservoirs: the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Read the monthly message from new Polio Oversight Board chair Dr Tom Frieden.


Australia has contributed the final tranche of their A$ 50 million commitment, made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2011, giving A$ 20 million in funding for the entire programme.
The Korea Foundation for International Healthcare has contributed US$ 1 million to Nigeria as part of a project to sustain a strong Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance system.    

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

Nigeria introduced IPV in two states in February (Bauchi and Jigawa). Other polio endemic states will introduce IPV as soon as possible, and the remaining 23 will do so by mid-March.
80 countries have introduced IPV to date (41% of the global total).  
Copyright © 2015 Global Polio Eradication Initiative, All rights reserved.

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