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JUNE 2014 - SPECIAL ALERT - IMB report Download: HTML
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March 2014 Download: HTML
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Over the next few months, the polio programme anticipates two important developments. Thanks to India’s success against polio, the South-East Asia Regional Certification Commission will meet next week to evaluate whether the entire region can be declared polio-free – a major milestone for the global polio programme and the region’s 1.8 billion people. Later this spring, a group of senior public health experts will convene to assess and advise the WHO Director-General on benefits of potential measures to reduce the risk of international spread of polio, including benefits of recommendations requiring vaccination of travelers from polio-infected areas to protect progress.

February 2014 Download: HTML
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Last month, the world joined in celebration as India – once considered the hardest place on earth to end polio – marked three years without a case of wild poliovirus. India’s milestone comes after a year of progress cornering the virus in the last few countries where polio remains endemic. 
Yet serious challenges remain. In Pakistan, immunization campaigns have again been interrupted by violence and polio case counts have risen. A coordinated response is ongoing in the Middle East, where new cases continue to emerge; in the Horn of Africa, the response has entered its second phase, with a substantial decline in cases.
The World Health Organization’s Executive Board met in Geneva last month to discuss progress against the Strategic Plan to end polio by 2018, priorities for 2014, and growing concerns over the risk of major outbreaks in polio-free countries. Member States requested the WHO Director-General to convene experts to advise on the public health benefits of global vaccination requirements for travellers from polio-infected areas.

December 2013 Download: HTML
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Countries across the Middle East are launching special campaigns to vaccinate 23 million children in response to the polio outbreak in Syria, while cases have tapered off in the Horn of Africa; and progress has continued in the three polio-endemic countries, providing an incredible opportunity to turn off the polio tap at the source.

Between them, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan have seen an almost 40% reduction in cases compared to this time last year, and wild poliovirus type 3 hasn’t been spotted anywhere in the world in more than 12 months. As the Polio Oversight Board stated recently:

“The upcoming low transmission season (November to April) in countries currently affected by polio transmission will be crucial, and we agreed that endemic country plans could be further refined to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity.” More

September 2013 Download: HTML
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A year ago this month, world leaders united at the 2012 UN General Assembly and vowed to step up the fight against polio. That unprecedented display of political support has translated into a successful 12 months, with all three endemic countries continuing to make progress against the disease.
At the same time, the outbreak in the Horn of Africa, along with the ongoing detection of polio in environmental samples taken from Israel and Palestine, remind us all of the risks that remain as long as transmission continues in endemic countries. Ongoing political support remains critical to the success of the polio eradication goal.

August 2013 Download: HTML
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Progress continues to be achieved towards the complete eradication of polio, despite the growing polio outbreak in Kenya and Somalia and the reporting of a new case in Ethiopia. The three polio-endemic countries are seeing a reduction in cases compared to this time last year (see “Making Progress”, below right) and wild poliovirus type 3 hasn’t been seen anywhere since November 2012 – more than nine months ago. The programme is preparing to fully exploit the upcoming low-season for polio (December to May) and seize the opportunity to stop transmission in the endemic countries by end 2014.

Funding committed at the Global Vaccine Summit in April 2013 in Abu Dhabi will need to be quickly released to support the implementation of the Global Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018.
Read “Anticipating outbreaks” below to find out why these funds are sorely needed.

July 2013 Download: HTML
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June 2013 Download: HTML
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The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) is optimistic: success against polio is achievable by 2014.

In the report of its 7-9 May meeting, the Board commended the programme on the fundamental changes that have transformed the effort into a more responsive and coordinated health initiative, which brought polio to the lowest levels ever by early 2013. However, the group of experts warned that “whilst the poliovirus is knocked down, it is certainly not knocked out” and advised the programme to focus on addressing its weaknesses, “because the poliovirus will seize on them.” More

May 2013      Download: HTML
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Last week, polio was a hot topic of conversation at the Assembly once more, 25 years after the global resolution to eradicate polio. Ministers from the 194 Member States reviewed a report on recent progress, which showed polio at its lowest levels ever, and strongly endorsed the new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. The Assembly condemned the attacks on health workers involved in polio vaccination efforts, and  expressed deep concern about the new outbreak in Somalia and Kenya. The Assembly also applauded the pledges made at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi and urged all donors to quickly turn their commitments into contributions.

Read more about the WHA here

April 2013      Download: HTML
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Welcome to this special Global Vaccine Summit edition of Polio News!

Global Vaccine Summit drew to a close yesterday having met its goal of catalysing a new wave of support for immunization. Co-hosted by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the UN Secretary-General and Bill Gates, the Summit resulted in renewed dedication to the Decade of Vaccines – a commitment to reaching people everywhere with the vaccines they need.
The Summit was timed to coincide with
World Immunization Week, which builds global support for vaccination.

 March 2013      Download: HTML
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Another country becomes polio-free! The last of the lab results are in and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has officially passed a year without a single case of wild poliovirus (WPV).
DR Congo, which had battled re-infection for seven years, is now no longer considered to be affected by re-established transmission of WPV. Angola came off the ‘re-established transmission’ list in July 2012, South Sudan in 2010 and now DR Congo; Chad remains the only country with re-established transmission. With no WPV recorded since June 2012, however, Chad is also on track to becoming polio-free once more.
Neither Chad nor DR Congo can afford to relax – circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) type 2 has recently paralyzed children in both countries. Boosting immunity in settings of low routine immunization coverage such as these is a key premise of the
2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan.

 February 2013      Download: HTML
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Once again we begin with sad news: health centres and health workers have been the target of a calculated and deadly attack in Nigeria. Although the recent polio vaccination round had ended, most of those killed at the health centres were polio workers: any attack on health workers and those they are trying to serve is unacceptable. Our thoughts are with the families of the brave souls who lost their lives while trying to create a better future for their nation’s children. Read the joint statement by UNICEF and WHO here.


 January 2013      Download: HTML
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We dedicate the progress in polio eradication in 2012 to the health workers who made the ultimate sacrifice for a polio-free world. They were among the hundreds of thousands who work selflessly across Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria to eradicate polio. 

The partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative express their deepest sympathies to the families of the victims. In their memory, we remain committed to making a polio-free world a reality.


 November 2012      Download: HTML
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The world of polio eradication has been abuzz since the last issue, with a series of meetings in Geneva and beyond to flesh out a global endgame strategy – and to raise the funds to pay for it.

In late October and early November, the draft of the new polio eradication and endgame strategy was presented to some of the bodies which guide, review or support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), the Independent Monitoring Board, and the Global Polio Partners Group. Each group endorsed the broad goals of the strategy and made recommendations for improvement. Read “Flicking the switch”, below, for the SAGE outcomes, and click 
here for the WHO Director-General’s speech to the Global Polio Partners Group.

 Special Issue - World Polio Day 24 October 2012      Download: HTML
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Welcome to the World Polio Day special.

Since this time last year, India has been taken off the list of countries with active wild poliovirus transmission. Polio now stalks children among the most marginalized communities of just three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Be part of the day and help end polio: join the 
world’s biggest commercial or download an action pack.


 September 2012      Download: HTML
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This week is set to be an exciting one in the world of polio eradication. Leaders from around the world have been invited by the United Nations Secretary-General to speak about their work and their commitment to eradicate polio at a high-level event in New York this Thursday, while they’re in town for the UN General Assembly.

Also taking place in New York this week is the Global Citizen Festival – an advocacy concert held by the Global Poverty Project, bringing Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Band of Horses and K’naan together with 60,000 change-makers in Central Park. Polio eradication is one of three key actions to be pushed during the event, highlighting the need for world leaders and regular citizens to do more to tackle this urgent issue.



 August 2012      Download: HTML
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If you happen to be in  New York City, USA, show your support for polio eradication on 29 September at the Global Festival in Central Park.

The event will come days after a high-level call to action convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the UN General Assembly – to continue the emergency momentum in polio eradication and help catalyze a shared sense of responsibility among the global community to finish the job.

 July 2012      Download: HTML
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 June 2012      Download: HTML
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Completing polio eradication declared global emergency

The world’s health ministers have declared polio eradication a programmatic emergency for global public health, signifying that eradication efforts now require going beyond the health sector to an all-of-government and society approach to vaccinate all children.

 May 2012      Download: HTML
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Polio focus at World Health Assembly


This week, global health leaders are discussing whether to consider polio eradication a 'programmatic emergency for global public health'.  Download the resolution before the world’s 194 Ministers of Health. The key polio-affected countries and international polio partners have spent the past three months developing an Emergency Action Plan for 2012-13 which will be unveiled at a press conference during the Assembly.

New infographic  
“We are this close to ending polio”

 April 2012      Download: HTML
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The global emergency to end polio was evident this month from frontline to executive floor.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake travelled to Chad and Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee to Afghanistan to recognize the urgent actions taken in those countries to eradicate polio, despite the complex challenges in each.

At the frontline, millions of vaccinators and social mobilizers fanned across west Africa for the first synchronized polio campaigns of the year in that region and held national immunization days in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

 March 2012      Download: HTML
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It’s official, India has been removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. From the 125 countries in the world that were infected with polio when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) began, there are now only three left that have never stopped transmission.

Further positive news is that the last six months have seen the lowest number of cases globally to have been recorded during this six-month period in the last ten years. That said, there is still a lot of work to be done until the world is polio free – particularly given the upsurge in cases in Nigeria and Pakistan during that same period. The GPEI needs all the support it can get to see this done.

 February 2012
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It was a sad start to the year with the loss of Bob Keegan, former deputy director of the Global Immunization Division at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who passed away on 16 January. We dedicate this issue to Bob, who was mentor and inspiration to many polio eradicators, with his courage, professionalism, grace and good humour.

Rotary International is busy preparing for the organization’s birthday celebrations the week of 23 February. Once again, Rotarians around the world will mark the occasion by lighting up globally recognisable landmarks with the “End Polio Now” message.

 January 2012
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While we wait for the final case count for 2011, we can look back over the year as one of mixed success and setbacks. One success will go into the history books: India has gone 12 months without reporting a case of polio. However, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria saw increases in cases compared to 2010. Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo made serious inroads against their re-established transmission, yet Chad continues to account for a high number of cases. Type 3 case numbers are down to lowest-ever levels, yet we suffered new outbreaks in five countries. Cases from outbreaks in previously polio-free areas declined significantly, but some outbreaks persisted such as that along the Uganda/Kenyan border.


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