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POLIO NEWS - FEBRUARY 2022

 

The latest polio eradication activities around the world this month in Polio News. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
 

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POLIO NEWS                   FEBRUARY 2022

Dear polio eradication supporter,

Earlier this month, leaders from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), including Bill Gates (Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Catherine Russell (Executive Director, UNICEF), met with polio programme and political leadership in Pakistan to strengthen vital commitments to end polio. Following his visit, Bill penned a blogpost on how investments in polio support pandemic preparedness efforts. At the same time, the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) convened the Fourth Meeting of the Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks to recommit to ending WPV transmission and stopping concurrent polio variant outbreaks in Yemen.

While WHO EMRO reported historically low case numbers of polio in 2021, this progress is fragile and requires support from all levels to increase vaccination coverage in key high-risk areas. This is especially important amid the reminder that polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere: as a result of ongoing disease surveillance, the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) confirmed a case of wild poliovirus in Malawi, linked to virus from Pakistan, in mid-February. On the verge of a wild polio-free world, it is essential that everyone, everywhere recommits to ending all forms of poliovirus.

 

Global Polio Eradication Initiative deeply concerned 
for health of Ukrainian people

As our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all who are caught up in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is extremely concerned about the effects of the current situation on the country’s health system.  Ukraine is currently affected by a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreak.  Outbreak response had been conducted in the second half of 2021, but the current situation is severely undermining immunization and surveillance efforts in the country.  The GPEI has a long history of working in a variety of complex environments, and will continue to adapt its operations to the reality on the ground, to the degree possible, without compromising on the safety and security of health workers on the ground.

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Eradication Leader Leaves a Legacy 

Dr Pascal Mkanda © WHO

Under the leadership of Dr Pascal Mkanda, endemic wild polio cases in Africa fell drastically from 75 000 to zero over twenty years, and Africa was finally certified wild polio-free in 2020. To mark his retirement in February 2022, leaders in the fight for eradication like Dr Matshidiso Moeti (Regional Director, WHO AFRO), Professor Rose Leke (Chair, African Regional Certification Committee), Dr Tunji Funsho (Nigeria PolioPlus Committee) and more share their thanks and memories of Dr Mkanda from throughout his career.

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Reflections from a Former Polio Programme Worker   

Courtesy Dr Nida Ali

Before Dr Nida Ali joined the GPEI in 2017, she had only encountered polio in pediatrics books at medical school. After close to five years working for the programme, Ali recounts lessons on how to spot cases of WPV in households and children, ways to connect with parents wary of the vaccine, and why she wants to see more women in leadership positions in global health.

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Polio Survivor Helps Change Minds on Vaccination   

 
(c) Unicef Nigeria

After losing the ability to walk due to polio, Aminu Tudun-Wada vowed to use his experience to encourage vaccination. Today, he works to change the perception many have towards the polio vaccine by going door-to-door to warn parents and caregivers about the dangers of not vaccinating children. To continue this important advocacy work, Tudun-Wada also works with other polio survivors to build tricycles at his workshop.

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POLIO IN NUMBERS

Wild Poliovirus in 2022 (2021)*

Global Total:      1 (2)

Circulating Vaccine Derived Poliovirus in 2022 (2021)*

Global Total:   4 (24)

*Data as of 2 March 2022. Numbers in brackets represent data at this time in 2021.

Breakdown by country
Polio this week

 
 

POLIO IN THE NEWS

Al Jazeera: 2022 Pakistan polio vaccinations key to eradication goal: Gates

Reuters: Malawi detects polio, first wild case in Africa in over 5 years

STAT: Malawi polio case raises concerns the virus could reemerge in region

 

DONOR UPDATES

Malawi has made available US$ 193 000 in domestic resources for the response to the WPV1 outbreak.

WHO and UNICEF would like to thank the European Commission for providing €25 million to polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan. This support is a testimony of the European Union’s determination to serve the most vulnerable.

 

PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Amin Tudun-Wada, a polio survivor, founder of the Polio Survivors Group (PSG) in Kano State, and founder of a tricycle company dedicated to ensuring mobility for polio survivors  ©Amin Tudun-Wada

Amin Tudun-Wada, a polio survivor, founder of the Polio Survivors Group (PSG) in Kano State, and founder of a tricycle company dedicated to ensuring mobility for polio survivors. ©Amin Tudun-Wada

 
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