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POLIO NEWS - April 2022




POLIO NEWS                  April 2022

Dear polio eradication supporter,

Last week, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) launched the investment case for its new strategy, seeking US$ 4.8 billion to deliver a polio-free world. Nearly 900 viewers joined the virtual event live to hear messages from Dr Tedros (Director General, WHO), Catherine Russell (Executive Director, UNICEF) and other leadership from the GPEI and polio-affected countries. The launch also highlighted the stories of polio workers and underscored the historic opportunity facing the program to eradicate wild polio now – an opportunity whose fragility was made clear last week when the virus paralyzed a young boy in Pakistan, the first case reported from the country in over a year. To raise the necessary funding and finish the job against polio, Germany announced during the event that it will co-host the GPEI’s upcoming pledging moment at the World Health Summit in Berlin this October.   

The investment case launch fell in the heart of World Immunization Week, a global celebration of the power of vaccines to keep us safe a create a healthier world for future generations. Eradication supporters including the WHO African Region, the United Nations Foundation and Rotary highlighted the dedicated people working towards a polio-free world and the progress we’ve made towards that future. As we continue to shine a spotlight on the funding needed to end polio, we turn our attention to the World Health Assembly where global leaders in health will come together from 22-28 May. We look forward to the critical commitments to be made to protect all children against polio.

Have a second? Before reading on, take a look through the top picks in this year’s World Health Day photo contest – including a heartening image of polio volunteers in India journeying through tough terrain to deliver essential health services.


New Vaccine Closes Polio Outbreak

© WHO/M. Abidzhanov

This week, history was made in Tajikistan as the country became the first to close an outbreak of type 2 variant poliovirus (cVDPV2) using the novel oral polio vaccine (nOPV2). Vaccination campaigns began in February 2021 using nOPV2, a new tool that can help to more sustainably stop outbreaks, and by August, all traces of the virus had been wiped out in Tajikistan. Thanks to the concerted effort of GPEI partners, national authorities and health workers in communities across the country, we now have a promising look into how nOPV2 can help us build a healthier future.




Experts Urge Brisk Action Against Polio

While the window of opportunity to end polio is currently open, we must take immediate action before it closes – perhaps for good. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE), the global advisory board for the WHO on immunization, made this point clear in its meeting earlier this month. Following the detection of wild polio in Malawi and the recent spread of variant polioviruses (cVDPVs) in places like Israel and Ukraine, SAGE called for swift and urgent response efforts to stop polio transmission quickly and protect children for years to come.




A Plan to End Polio in Somalia

Courtesy Dr Nida Ali

Somalia has been fighting one of the longest lasting outbreaks of cVDPV2 for years. Last month, government leaders and GPEI partners met in Nairobi to outline and adopt an action plan to put an end to this outbreak. This new plan aims to reach the country’s nomadic and displaced populations with polio vaccines and improve cross-border coordination, stopping polio transmission in Somalia and protecting its neighboring countries.





Wild Poliovirus in 2022 (2021)*

Global Total:      2 (2)

Circulating Vaccine Derived Poliovirus in 2022 (2021)*

Global Total:   56 (68)

*Data as of 26 April 2022. Numbers in brackets represent data at this time in 2021.

Breakdown by country
Polio this week



STAT: Global coalition seeks $4.8 billion for polio eradication initiative

NPR: Vaccine-derived polio is on the rise. A new vaccine aims to stop the spread

Health Policy Watch: Malaria, Polio, and COVID-19: Lessons for Existing and Future Pandemics

BMZ - Healthy Developments: Investing in a polio-free future today: Launch of the new GPEI Investment Case



Young cricket fans show their support for a polio-free Pakistan at a recent test match between Pakistan and Australia. ©Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme

A health worker administers the oral polio vaccine to a young girl as other children wait for their turn at a school in Karachi, Pakistan, where a case of wild polio was reported for the first time in 15 months in April.
© Rizwan Tabassum /AFP via Getty Images