According to a report by the polio program’s Independent Monitoring Board, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has likely failed to meet its 2023 goal to end polio transmission. Here’s what you need to know…
- Only seven wild polio cases have been recorded this year in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Still, the ongoing spread implies it might be impossible to meet the eradication goal by the end of 2023.
- The most significant issue is vaccine-derived polio, caused by the oral polio vaccine used to eradicate the disease. These vaccine-derived viruses can become harmful and regain the ability to paralyze when vaccination coverage is low.
- The report criticizes the polio program for not effectively handling vaccine-derived polio. Worryingly, resources used to manage type 2 vaccine virus outbreaks could lead to a potential surge in type 1 viruses.
- Nigeria is highlighted as particularly vulnerable, with over 2.3 million children never receiving a dose of the polio vaccine. If type 1 vaccine virus transmission increases here, the consequences could be disastrous.
- The report emphasizes that sufficient financial resources and political commitment are essential to address these challenges. Some critics suggest the program might be too decentralized, leading to a lack of consensus on priorities.
- A broad consensus is that an intensified focus on child immunization is necessary. Viral presence indicates gaps in immunization.
- The polio program involves multiple organizations, including the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the CDC, UNICEF, Gavi, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
To read more, click here.
[Source: STAT, September 15th, 2023]