POLIO [to 4 February 2017]

POLIO [to 4 February 2017]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 1 February 2017
:: The Executive Board of the World Health Organization at its meeting in Geneva last week noted that the world is closer than ever to being polio-free, and urged for increased support to the remaining endemic countries. At the same time, ministries commended efforts made on containment and to manage an ongoing global inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) supply constraint. The Board also encouraged plans to transition the polio infrastructure for the long-term, to ensure it continues to benefit broader public health efforts even after the disease is gone. To this effect, the Board adopted a ‘decision’, requesting the GPEI to present a strategic roadmap towards polio transition and the development of a post-certification strategy at the May World Health Assembly. Closing the discussion, Rotary International addressed the ministries with a clear call to action: “We must protect the gains. An additional US$1.3 billion is needed through 2019. Together, we can end polio and forever build a better future for all children.”

Country Updates [Selected Excerpts]
:: Five new environmental WPV1 positive samples were reported in the past week, from Balochistan (Quetta and Pishin), Sindh (Karachi-Gadap and Jacobabad) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar), collected between 1 and 10 January 2017.

WHO Executive Board
140th session EB140(4)
27 January 2017
The Executive Board, having considered the reports on poliomyelitis1 and human resources: update;2
(1) recalled resolution WHA68.3 (2015) on poliomyelitis and encouraged Member States to ensure its full implementation;
(2) recalled previous discussions on the human resources aspects of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, in particular on the issue of potential indemnities resulting from the termination of staff contracts;
(3) underlined the need for continued emphasis on an effective endgame effort to eradicate polio and the importance of ensuring that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is fit for purpose, with adequate levels of qualified staff;
(4) emphasized the urgent need for effective transition planning, in line with the three main aims outlined in paragraph 19 of document EB140/13;
(5) further emphasized the need to continue to provide the appropriate, situation-specific and focused interventions, in particular in relation to human resources and budgetary requirements, to the regions and countries where transmission has not been interrupted;
(6) recognized the major and systemic challenges facing WHO that will result from the current winding-down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative;
(7) called for appropriate prioritization of opportunities for internal reassignment so as to reduce potential liabilities and indemnities, in particular to strengthen the WHO Health Emergencies Programme and the Expanded Programme on Immunization, with emphasis given to retaining the highest-performing staff;
(8) emphasized the need to accelerate opportunities to shift or reprofile the 43% of staff funded by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative who work in polio-free countries, while ensuring that appropriate resources remain in place for surveillance;
(9) reiterated its expectation that recruitment of staff for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative should be carried out without incurring any avoidable costs resulting from the foreseeable future termination of contracts, including by synchronizing contract end dates, and requested WHO to ensure that standard contracts that meet this requirement are available and are used;
(10) decided to request the Director-General:
(a) to present to the Seventieth World Health Assembly a report that outlines the programmatic, financial, and human-resource-related risks resulting from the current winding-down and eventual discontinuation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, as well as an update on actions taken and planned to mitigate those risks while ensuring that essential polio-related functions are maintained, and to present a first draft of that report to a meeting of Member States before the end of April 2017;
(b) to continue reporting regularly to the Health Assembly, through the Executive Board, on the planning and implementation of the transition process.
(Tenth meeting, 27 January 2017)