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CLOSE THIS BOOKFact sheet No 114: Poliomyelitis - Revised April 2001 (WHO, 2001, 4 p.)
VIEW THE DOCUMENT(introduction...)
VIEW THE DOCUMENTThe Global Polio Eradication Initiative
VIEW THE DOCUMENTCountries at Risk of Polio
VIEW THE DOCUMENTChallenges Faced in Polio Eradication
VIEW THE DOCUMENTImpact of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
VIEW THE DOCUMENTFuture Benefits of Polio Eradication

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative

Launch: In 1988, the Forty-first World Health Assembly, consisting then of delegates from 166 Member States, launched a global initiative to eradicate polio by the end of the year 2000. This followed the successful eradication of smallpox in 1979 and progress during the 1980s towards elimination of the poliovirus in the Americas, as well as Rotary International's commitment to raise funds for polio eradication. The eradication of polio should be certified in 2005.

Progress: In the 13 years since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched, the number of cases has fallen by 99% from an estimated 350 000 cases. At the end of 2000, the number of polio-infected countries was no more than 20, having fallen from 125.

In 1994, the World Health Organization (WHO) Region of the Americas was certified polio-free. In 2000, the WHO Western Pacific Region (which includes China) was certified polio-free, and the WHO European Region has been free of polio for over two years. Widely endemic on five continents in 1988, polio is now concentrated only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

Strategies: The eradication of polio requires a programme of work ranging from massive immunization activities to aggressive laboratory containment of poliovirus stocks. In order to realize the full humanitarian and economic benefits of polio eradication, the programme also extends to international consensus-building around future immunization policy.

There are five main activities necessary to realize polio's eradication, the global certification target of 2005, and eventual cessation of polio immunization:

· Conduct effective and high-quality national immunization days (NIDs) and mop-up campaigns to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission

· Develop and sustain certification-standard surveillance and laboratory systems that can rapidly identify polio-infected areas

· Ensure laboratory containment of wild poliovirus stocks

· Develop a consensus strategy to stop polio immunization after certification of eradication

· Use polio eradication to strengthen and expand routine immunization services

Before a region can be certified polio-free, immunization and high quality surveillance need to continue for a number of years after the last polio case has been detected. Laboratory stocks must be contained before the world can be certified polio-free.

The target date for certification of the world as polio-free is 2005.

Coalition The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

This coalition also includes national governments; private foundations (e.g. United Nations Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); development banks (e.g. World Bank); donor governments (e.g. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom and United States of America); humanitarian organizations (e.g. the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement) and corporate partners (e.g. Aventis Pasteur, De Beers). Volunteers in developing countries also play a key role: ten million have participated in mass immunization campaigns.


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