Since its launch at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has reduced the global incidence of polio by more than 99% and the number of countries with endemic polio from 125 to 3. More than 10 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralysed.
That is an amazing result. Nevertheless, there is still a threat to the global community of ongoing poliovirus transmission in the last three endemic countries and the risk of circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV).
Hence, on May 26th of 2012, the World Health Assembly declared ending polio as a “programmatic emergency for global public health” and the need for a comprehensive polio endgame strategy.
The 4 main objectives of the endgame strategy are:
- Stop all wild polio virus transmission by the end of 2014 and new cVDPV outbreaks within 120 days of confirmation of the first case
- Hasten the interruption of all poliovirus transmission and help strengthen immunization systems
- Certify all regions of the world polio-free and ensure that all polio-virus stocks are safely contained
- Ensure that a polio-free world is permanent and that the investment in polio eradication provides public health dividends for years to come
The Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 (the Plan) was developed to capitalize on this new opportunity to end all polio disease. It accounts for the parallel pursuit of wild poliovirus eradication and cVDPV elimination, while planning for the backbone of the polio effort to be used for delivering other health services to the world’s most vulnerable children.