Milestones :: Perspectives

Milestones :: Perspectives

Editor’s Note:
Two polio-related items lead our coverage this week.
   The first is the impending financial and programmatic sustainability crisis stemming from the wind-down of the GPEI and its funding of much non-GPEI WHO staff and programming. This crisis is noted “with great concern” by the WHA action below.
   The second is an outbreak of a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in Syria as reported in the weekly GPEI update below

Poliomyelitis: polio transition planning
Agenda item 12.3
29 May 2017
[Full text; Editor’s text bolding]
The Seventieth World Health Assembly, having considered the updated report on polio
transition planning,1 decided:

[1] to acknowledge that the active role taken by the Office of the Director -General in
directing and leading this process is of key importance;

(2) to emphasize the critical and urgent need to maintain and pursue eradication efforts in polio-endemic countries and to sustain surveillance in countries through polio eradication certification, and the importance of ensuring that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is fit for purpose, with adequate levels of qualified staff;

(3) to acknowledge that the ramp -down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has started and highlight the need for WHO to strategically manage the resulting impact on WHO human resources and other assets;

(4) to note the ongoing process of developing a post-certification strategy that will define the essential polio functions needed to sustain eradication and maintain a polio-free world;

(5) to highlight the need for WHO to work with all relevant stakeholders on options for ensuring effective accountability and oversight after eradication in the post-certification strategy;

(6) to note with great concern the reliance on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s funding of WHO at global, regional and country levels, involving many WHO programme activities, and the financial, organizational and programmatic risks that this reliance entails for WHO, including risks for the sustainability of WHO’s capacity to ensure effective delivery in key programmatic areas and to maintain essential continuing functions;
(7) to note also the proposed list of actions to be implemented by the end of 2017, as referred to in document A70/14 Add.1, in particular in relation to the development of a comprehensive WHO strategic action plan on polio transition;

(8) to urge the Director-General:

(a) to make polio transition a key priority for the Organization at its three levels;
(b) to ensure that the development of the WHO strategic action plan on polio transition is guided by an overarching principle of responding to country needs and priorities, including by participating in and supporting Global Polio Eradication Initiative country transition planning;
(c) to mainstream best practices from polio eradication into all relevant health interventions and build capacity and responsibility for polio eradication ongoing functions and assets in national programmes, while maintaining WHO’s capacity to provide norms and standards for post-eradication planning and oversight;
(d) to explore innovative ways for mobilizing additional funding for the period 2017−2019 in order to mitigate the possible impact on the ramp-down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and on the longer-term sustainability of key assets that are currently financed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and to update Member States on this work, through a dedicated session at the forthcoming financing dialogue;

(9) to request the Director-General:

(a) to develop a strategic action plan on polio transition by the end of 2017, to be submitted for consideration by the Seventy-first World Health Assembly, through the Executive
Board at its 142nd session, that:

(i) clearly identifies the capacities and assets, especially at country and, where appropriate, community levels, that are required to:
– sustain progress in other programmatic areas, such as: disease
surveillance; immunization and health systems strengthening; early
warning, emergency and outbreak response, including the strengthening
and maintenance of core capacities under the International Health
Regulations (2005);
– maintain a polio-free world after eradication;

(ii) provides a detailed costing of these capacities and assets;

(b) to present to the Seventy-first World Health Assembly a report on the efforts to
mobilize funding for transitioning capacities and assets that are currently
financed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative into the programme budget,
to enable the Seventy-first World Health Assembly to provide guidance for the
development of the programme budget for the biennium 2020–2021 and the Thirteenth
General Programme of Work on a realistic basis;

(c) to report regularly on the planning and implementation of the transition process to the
Health Assembly, through the Regional Committees and the Executive Board.


(Ninth plenary meeting, 29 May 2017
[1] Document A70/14 Add.1