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THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid1 , and in particular Article 2, Article 4 and Article 15(2) and (3) thereof,
Having regard to Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union ('Overseas Association Decision')2 , and in particular Article 79 thereof,
At the beginning of 2017, progress continued towards each of the Endgame Plan’s four objectives. The world has never been closer to eradicating polio, with fewer cases in fewer areas of fewer countries than at any time in the past.
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST INFECTIOUS KILLER
Writing in 1901, William Osler, one of the founders of modern medicine, described pneumonia as “the captain of the men of death”. He was writing about the USA, where the disease was a major killer of children – and a source of fear for their parents. Pneumonia remains a “captain of the men of death”. No infectious disease claims the lives of more children. Today, almost all of the victims are in low- and middle-income countries. The vast majority are poor.
On Monday 16 October 2017 the Council adopted the EU Annual Report on Human Rights And Democracy in the World in 2016.
2016 was a challenging year for human rights and democracy, with a shrinking space for civil society and complex humanitarian and political crises emerging. In this context, the European Union showed leadership and remained strongly committed to promote and protect human rights and democracy across the world.
By the end of 2016, progress continued towards each of the Endgame Plan’s four objectives.
The world has never been closer to eradicating polio, with fewer cases in fewer areas of fewer countries than at any time in the past. The virus is now more geographically constrained than at any point in history.
By the middle of 2016, progress continued towards each of the Endgame Plan’s four objectives. The world has never been closer to eradicating polio, with fewer cases in fewer areas of fewer countries than at any time in the past. The virus is now more geographically constrained than at any point in history. As the GPEI enters the second half of 2016, it is more important than ever to redouble efforts to eradicate poliovirus in every corner of the globe.
There are eleven weeks to go until the globally synchronized switch from the trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, an important milestone in achieving a polio-free world. Read more here.
The WHO Executive Board is meeting this week, reviewing the report on polio eradication.
On 21 January, Syria passed two years without a reported case of polio despite the conflict which has affected the delivery of health services, including childhood vaccinations.
Looking back at 2015 and ahead at 2016: a wrap-up of the year shows fewer cases in fewer places than ever before. The report on the status of polio eradication to WHO's Executive Board also summarizes the progress on the Polio Endgame Plan, and on Resolution WHA68.3, adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2015.
On 20 October, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) confirmed that the globally coordinated withdrawal of the type 2 component in oral polio vaccine (OPV) should occur in April 2016, specifically in a window from 17 April to 1 May. Countries should intensify their preparatory efforts to switch from trivalent OPV to bivalent OPV to meet this timeline.
In Lao Democratic People’s Republic a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) outbreak has been confirmed, with one case, an eight year old boy who had onset of paralysis on 7 September. Outbreaks of cVDPVs can arise in areas of low population immunity, emphasizing the importance of strong vaccination coverage. Learn more about VDPVs.
Afghanistan became the final polio-endemic country to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine on 30 September as part of the biggest globally synchronized vaccine introduction in history.
This week, the Independent Monitoring Board is meeting in London to assess progress towards polio eradication and to make recommendations for the coming months. The report is expected to be published in the next few weeks.
- Pakistan launched a nationwide polio campaign this week to vaccinate more than 35 million children in 163 districts of the country. Approximately 200,000 polio workers are participating in the polio campaign, during which Vitamin A will also be distributed.
A case of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) has been reported with onset of paralysis on 20 July 2015 in Bamako city, Mali. The virus was isolated from a 19-month old boy of Guinean nationality. The closest genetic match to this case is from a case from Kankan, Guinea, with onset of paralysis on 30 August 2014. The genetic changes suggest that the cVDPV2 has been circulating for more than 12 months. Discussions are currently ongoing with national health authorities to plan and implement an urgent outbreak response.
By the end of 2014, significant progress had been made towards each of the Endgame Plan’s four objectives; the world has never been in a better position to eradicate polio.
As the GPEI enters 2015, efforts are being intensified to build on this progress and stop polio once and for all.
Capitalizing on progress in Nigeria, against outbreaks in central Africa and the Horn of Africa, and against two out of three strains of wild poliovirus
Ministers of Health from around the world will convene next week at WHO’s Executive Board meeting, to set global public health policies. Among other topics, representatives are expected to review the current polio epidemiology and global preparedness plans for the phased removal of oral polio vaccines. A report has been prepared, to facilitate discussions, available here.
In Madagascar, a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) has been confirmed. The virus was isolated from one case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) with onset of paralysis on 29 September, and from three healthy contacts. An estimated more than 25% of children remain under-immunized against polio in the country. Madagascar was previously affected by a cVDPV2 outbreak in 2001/2002 (resulting in five cases) and in 2005 (resulting in three cases). Emergency outbreak response is being finalized, with campaigns to be held in December and January.
The 67th World Health Assembly, the WHO’s highest decision-making body, is meeting this week in Geneva. The report of the polio eradication programme to the Assembly is available here, and is scheduled to be discussed on Friday. On the sidelines of WHA, Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio and Emergencies, discussed polio eradication at the World Health +SocialGood digital event on Monday. The recorded discussion can be watched here (start at 1:04:00).