Volume 9, Issue 3 May 2017
Global infectious disease surveillance: getting back to basics
Why transition matters as much as eradication: lessons from global polio surveillance
Joseph R. A. Fitchett
… There is, however, a threat to global investment in surveillance if polio eradication effort is not coupled with an excellent transition plan. This challenge is particularly evident when attempting to raise donor funding from a limited pool of contributors, and to raise domestic funding following successful polio control efforts when so few cases remain visible in comparison to significant other societal challenges. Furthermore, polio eradication alone represents 20% of the current WHO budget.7 Although, in practice, polio systems have major benefits across health issues and to health systems more broadly, the case to transition valuable polio assets in support of global health governance is critical.
Going forward, the need for polio surveillance will diminish but the need for infectious disease surveillance will increase. The value of surveillance to societies, countries and global partnership must be better communicated. Global health, development and surveillance needs good news that transcends scientific, political and geographic boundaries. In the current socio-political and economic climate that is challenging the rationale of official development assistance (ODA), and where contributions to development assistance for health (DAH) are plateauing,8 successful surveillance and polio eradication couldn’t come at a better time.