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Polio Eradication Efforts Threatened By Funding Shortfall, Vaccination Resistance In Some Countries, Experts Say

Marking the 10th anniversary since Europe was declared polio-free, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative on Wednesday released a report (.pdf) saying there is “a unique window of opportunity to stamp out polio for good,” with the number of reported cases at historical lows, but a funding shortfall of about $1 million is threatening eradication progress, Reuters reports. Polio “remains endemic in three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria — after India in January became the latest country to become polio-free,” the news agency notes. IMB Chair Liam Donaldson “said the global financial crisis coupled with growing needs for polio funding had led to a shortfall of $945 million out of a total 2012-13 eradication program budget of $2 billion” and that 33 countries would have to cancel their vaccination programs, leaving 94 million children unprotected, according to Reuters (Kelland, 6/20).

Senior Taliban Commander Bans Polio Vaccination Efforts In Southern Region Of Pakistan

“A senior Taliban commander has effectively banned polio eradication in one of the most troubled areas of the Pakistan frontier in an effort to force the U.S. to end drone strikes,” the Guardian reports. “Leaflets distributed in South Waziristan on behalf of Mullah Nazir, the leader of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (Fata), accused health workers who administer anti-polio drops of being U.S. spies” and “questioned the sincerity of international efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease,” the newspaper adds.

South East Asian Ministers Gather At WHO Regional Meeting

South East Asian health ministers met on Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal, for their 27th meeting during the 62nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia, Republica reports. During the four day meeting, health ministers from 11 member countries and other delegates will discuss a range of topics, including: health and climate change, measles, international health personnel recruitment policies, private sector engagement, the South East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund, polio eradication, public health innovation, counterfeit medical products and pandemic influenza preparedness.

Nigerian Polio Vaccinators Face Challenges But Aim For Eradication By 2018

The Independent reports on the challenges polio vaccinators in Nigeria face, including “the daily gauntlet of militant gangs, kidnappers, and unforgiving waters, on a mission to immunize children.” Polio remains endemic in Nigeria, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan, “[a]nd it’s why the vaccinators — determined to cut the deaths…

Also in Global Health News: Polio Vaccines in Nigeria; Health Care in Indonesia; Circumcision To Prevent HIV/AIDS in Botswana

Nigeria Releases 57M Polio Vaccines, Aims To Increase Vaccine Coverage The Nigerian government recently released 57 million doses of the trivalent oral polio vaccine for a nationwide campaign that concluded on Sunday, Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper reports. Additional campaigns are scheduled for July, August and October (Muanya, Guardian, 5/28). The Guardian…