POLIO [to 18 July 2015]

POLIO [to 18 July 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

GPEI Update: Polio this week – As of 15 July 2015
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
[Editor’s Excerpt and text bolding]
Full report: http://www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx
:: The National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for Pakistan has been officially endorsed by the Prime Minister, outlining the actions that must be taken to stop polio transmission. It is now vital that the commitment and efforts of the government, the partners, and the community as well as funding, be sustained throughout the coming months to keep cases of polio low during the high season for polio transmission.
:: In the first half of 2015 we have seen the lowest number of cases ever during this period, with just 33 cases in 2 countries as opposed to 122 cases in 9 countries at this time in 2014. This progress needs to be maintained through hard work to end transmission in endemic countries and to prevent future outbreaks.

Selected excerpts from Country-specific Reports
:: One new polio case was reported in the past week in Balabuluk district of Farah province. This most recent case had onset of paralysis on 07 June 2015. The total number of WPV1 cases for 2015 is now five.
:: Intensive and strengthened supplementary immunization activities are planned in the coming months. National Immunization Days (NIDs) are scheduled on 16 to 18 August using bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV). Subnational Immunization Days (SNIDs) will follow across the south of the country in September, and NIDs using trivalent OPV will take place in October.
:: Two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the past week; one with onset of paralysis in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the second in a nearby district which is to be confirmed. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 30 June. The total number of WPV1 cases for 2015 is now 28, compared to 94 at this time last year.

Sustaining Achievements in Polio Eradication in Ethiopia and Africa
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ethiopian Minister of Health Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Margaret Chan, The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Chief Executive Officer Dr Seth Berkley and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Ms Yoka Brandt participated in a high level polio vaccination event at Selam Health Centre in Addis Ababa. Also present at the event were UNAIDS Executive Director Mr Michel Sidibe, US Ambassador Ms Patricia M. Haslach, Brazil Ambassador Mrs Isabel Cristina, President and CEO of PATH Dr Davis Steve, and Rotary National Polio Plus Committee Chairperson PDG Dr Tadesse Alemu as well as national and international EPI partners, health workers and mothers with their children.

“Strong leadership, political will and coordination are key to sustaining the gains made in interrupting polio transmission in Ethiopia and Africa,” said Dr Margaret Chan, commending Ethiopia’s aggressive response to the 2013 outbreak of wild polio virus. “Horn of Africa countries should continue to immunize all at risk age groups until the threat drops to zero and eradication is achieved. And this is possible only through high quality immunization activities for all communities.”

When the wild polio virus outbreak in the Horn of Africa spread to Ethiopia in August 2013, the Government of Ethiopia intensified vigilance, surveillance and mass immunization campaigns, together with partners like WHO, UNICEF, USAID, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Rotary International. Fifteen supplementary immunization campaigns were implemented with a focus on high risk areas. Cross-border coordination was heightened, with Horn of Africa countries coming together to implement synchronized response activities.

It has been 18 months since the last case of wild polio virus was reported in Ethiopia, and 11 months since the last case in Africa.

Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu said, “We will focus on equity and quality for every child and mother in Ethiopia,” adding, “The Government of Ethiopia continues to be committed to eradicating polio from Ethiopia, and Africa.” He further affirmed that “The Government of Ethiopia will continue to engage communities for active participation in routine immunization, and will continue to build strong health partnerships.”…