JULY 2015                             Download [pdf]        
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Dear polio eradication supporter,

 
In July, Nigeria marked its first year without a single case of paralysis caused by wild poliovirus.  This remarkable success was bolstered by recent assessments of progress in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the only countries that have reported polio cases this year. This provides an opportunity to take a look at the state of polio eradication efforts in each of the three remaining endemic countries. New steps are being taken in all these countries to stop polio, but the goal can only be reached by sustaining momentum to ensure we reach all children with polio vaccines and continuing to improve surveillance.
 
 

 NIGERIA: ONE YEAR WITHOUT WILD POLIOVIRUS

On 24 July, Nigeria marked one year since the most recent case of wild poliovirus. This progress is thanks to hard work by the Nigerian government, thousands of health workers, countless community and religious leaders across the country and international partners. Nigeria’s milestone is an important step toward a polio-free world, but the job is not yet finished. For Nigeria to come off the list of polio-endemic countries, another six weeks are needed for the samples currently in the laboratory to be processed and confirmed to be polio-free. The country must then go two more years without a wild polio case and with very strong surveillance before the World Health Organization’s entire African Region can be certified polio-free. To get there, Nigeria must remain vigilant in improving surveillance and vaccinating all children. 

President Buhari gives his three-month old granddaughter Zuleiha Bello Abubakar the oral polio vaccine to mark one year with no wild polio cases in Nigeria.   © Government of Nigeria

PAKISTAN: GETTING BACK ON TRACK

The Technical Advisory Group met last month in Pakistan and found that the country’s new emphasis on vaccinating missed children, as opposed to focusing on the total number of children reached, has led to significant improvements in Pakistan’s polio eradication programme, with more children reached than ever before. Pakistan has all the tools to stop transmission, and it is critical that the country uses them effectively to build government accountability and trust, coordinate with Afghanistan, and introduce the inactivated polio vaccine into routine immunization to boost immunity. While insecurity remains a challenge and operations need further improvement, the programme has never been in a better place to stop polio for good.  

Health workers vaccinate a 2-year-old child in Punjab. © CDC

AFGHANISTAN: INTENSIFYING ERADICATION ACTIVITIES

 
With persistent low levels of polio transmission in Afghanistan, the Technical Advisory Group met last month to assess the country’s remaining challenges. The group advocated for Afghanistan to make its 2015 campaigns the best-prepared and highest quality in the country’s history. To do so, Afghanistan will need strong government leadership and the political and financial support of the global community. If Afghanistan also focuses on cross-border coordination with Pakistan and reaching every child with vaccines, the country has the potential to make significant progress in the second half of the year.
 

An Afghan mobile health worker vaccinates a girl during the National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Heart. © UNICEF/Aziz Froutan

GLOBAL CITIZEN PETITIONS TO COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT

 
Global Citizen has launched a campaign aimed at encouraging Commonwealth leaders to put polio eradication on the agenda at November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and commit to ending polio for good. 


Call on Malta to put polio eradication on the agenda by writing your own short email to the key ministers in Australia, Malta, Canada and the UK whose views will be decisive in determining whether polio is on the agenda. 

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN YEMEN

As the UN declares its highest-level emergency rating in Yemen, WHO warned there is high risk for a polio outbreak and deteriorating health systems. A humanitarian pause in July enabled 50 000 children to be reached with the oral polio vaccine, but children across the country remain vulnerable to the return of polio unless immunity can be increased. Read more.

POLIO IN THE NEWS

 
Nature: Smart shots bring Nigeria to brink of polio eradication
 
The Scientist: Driven to extinction
 
The Hill: Buhari and Obama can end polio in Africa
 
Forbes: Number Of Polio Cases Globally Drops To 1 Per Week; How Do We Get To Zero?
 
Reuters: Nigeria marks polio-free year, raising global eradication hopes
 

POLIO IN NUMBERS

Wild poliovirus in 2015

- Global Total:  34 (130) 
- Global WPV1: 34 (130)
- Global WPV3: 0 (0)
 

Endemic: 34 (115)

- Afghanistan: 6 (8)
- Nigeria: 0 (5) 
- Pakistan: 28 (102)
 

Importation Countries: 0 (15)


Data as of 29 July 2015. Numbers in brackets represent data this time in 2014.

Current case map
 

FUNDING UPDATES

 
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made grants of US$  67.7 million to WHO in Nigeria to support a surge in polio capacity, routine immunization intensification, outbreak response,  special interventions in security compromised areas, mobile outreach to hard-to-access settlements and engagement of traditional and religious leaders. 
 

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

Countries around the world continue to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in the biggest ever globally synchronized vaccine introduction.
 
The Bahamas, Bhutan, Cameroon, Chile, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan and Sri Lanka introduced IPV this month.
 
Ninety five countries have introduced IPV to date (49 % of the global total due to introduce the vaccine in 2015).
 
Six countries are due to introduce IPV in August. 
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