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Polio: Myanmar Plans Vaccination Campaign After Confirming First New Case In Three Years; India Fights Disease In Rural Areas

UNICEF said that Myanmar is planning a mass polio vaccination campaign of children under age five after the country confirmed its first case of the disease in three years, Agence France-Presse reports (2/21). “A seven-month-old infant was infected with vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in December,” according to UNICEF’s office in the country, IRIN writes (2/17).

Also In Global Health News: Global Fund Grants In Myanmar; Polio Eradication; GM Fungus Attacks Malaria In Mosquitoes; Afghanistan Demands NGOs Pay Taxes

 Global Fund To Resume Grants In Myanmar The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is resuming the distribution of grants to Myanmar, after suspending the country’s grants in August 2005 because the fund suspected “political interference in its programmes,” Inter Press Service reports. According to the news service, Myanmar, which…

Also In Global Health News: EU-India Talks; China’s Health System Funding; Water In Ethiopia; Nonprofit Offering Health Services Abroad To Sell Off Assets; Polio In India

BMJ News Examines Ongoing EU-India Trade Talks’ Impact On Access To Affordable Medicines In a piece examining health advocates’ ongoing concerns over how free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the EU and India could impact access to affordable generic medicines, BMJ News writes, “Patients’ representatives and health aid workers who…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Situation In Japan ‘Demands Calm, But Considered’ International Response: In light of the recent disaster in Japan and ongoing concerns over radiation in the country,”WHO might consider convening experts to review the consequences for human safety of nuclear energy, and the wider lessons to be learned from recent earthquakes,” a…

Gates Foundation Announces New Anti-Polio Initiative For Nigeria's Executive Governors

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Tuesday “announced a new initiative … for Nigeria’s Executive Governors, challenging them to deliver a dramatic improvement in polio and routine immunization by the end of 2012,” according to a Gates Foundation press release. “The program … will recognize those Executive…

Los Angeles Times Examines Polio Eradication Campaigns In Pakistan

The Los Angeles Times examines polio eradication campaigns in Pakistan, which is one of just four countries where the disease remains endemic. “Several factors have stood in the way of eradication,” including tribal violence, migration within the country and “an intense mistrust among some Pakistanis for the vaccines and the people who supply and administer them,” according to the newspaper (Rodriguez, 10/16).

China Vaccinates 4.5M Children, Young Adults Against Polio After Outbreak

“China vaccinated 4.5 million children and young adults over the last five weeks in the western region of Xinjiang in a fight against polio after the disease paralyzed 17 people and killed one of them, the World Health Organization said,” according to Reuters. This is the first outbreak of polio in China since 1999, “and scientists say the strain originated from Pakistan,” one of four remaining countries where polio is endemic, the news service writes.

India Must Stay The Course In Efforts To Eradicate Polio

“Clearly, there is no room for complacency” in India’s efforts to eradicate polio, defined by the WHO as no recorded case of the disease for three years, because “[t]he goal of complete eradication is within reach,” Deepak Gupta, a senior U.N. professional in Strategic Health/Development Communication, writes in an Asia Sentinel opinion piece. “[T]he next three years — till 2014 — will be crucial,” he writes, meaning experts should focus on “intense communication and preventive work, especially with regard to critical risk-factors like poor routine immunization and lack of proper sanitation,” he states, concluding, “The challenge is to ensure the sustainability of the success achieved so far” (10/19).

Global Polio Eradication Initiative Not On Track To End Transmission by 2012, Report Says

The latest quarterly report (.pdf) by an independent board that monitors the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), released in mid-October, warned that “unless the program addresses ‘fundamental problems,’ there is a ‘substantial risk’ that stopping polio transmission will not be achieved by end-2012,” AlertNet reports. “‘Important changes in style, commitment and accountability are essential,’ the panel of international health experts said,” according to AlertNet, which adds, “Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan are still classified as ‘polio-endemic,'” and “in Angola, Chad and Democratic Republic of Congo, transmission has become re-established for 12 months or more.”

Opinion Pieces Address World Polio Day

Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we haven’t done enough yet,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in his blog, “The Gates Notes.” He continues, “The last one percent is the hardest percent, and we have to do even more than we’ve already done if we hope to finish the job on polio. The day the world is declared polio free is the day we can really begin celebrating” (10/21).