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Working Toward Polio Eradication In 2018

“Since the eradication of smallpox in the late 1970s, no other diseases have followed suit; the goal that has come closest so far is eradication of polio,” a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial states, noting that in 2012 only about 250 people were infected with polio worldwide. However, the recent murders of polio…

Police Escort Of Polio Workers Killed In Northern Pakistan

“Health workers administering polio vaccinations to children came under attack in northern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing their police escort, authorities said,” CNN reports. “Two women administering the shots entered a house on the outskirts of Mardan when two assailants on a motorbike opened fire on them, according to Danishwar Khan, a local…

Oral Polio Vaccine Cold Chain Disruption In Pakistan Could Compromise Immunization Effectiveness, Health Officials Warn

Health officials in Pakistan “have formally complained to the WHO concerning the quality of [oral polio vaccine (OPV)] doses distributed by the U.N. body,” SciDev.Net reports, noting 58 children became infected with polio in 2012 despite having received the vaccine. Abdul Wakeel, assistant director of the government’s immunization program in the Khyber…

Polio Eradication Strategy Must Be Adjusted For Local Contexts

“It has been a particularly busy couple of months for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI),” SciDev.Net Director Nick Ishmael Perkins writes in a SciDev.Net editorial. “The deadly attacks on vaccinators in Pakistan brought renewed global attention to the campaign, and then Bill Gates went public with his personal commitment to…

WHO Officials, Islamic Leaders To Meet In Egypt To Discuss Attacks On Polio Workers

“Top World Health Organization officials and Islamic leaders will meet in Egypt next week in an effort to stop attacks on polio workers, which are hampering the eradication of the virus in some countries with large Muslim populations,” Reuters reports, noting, “Gunmen in Pakistan and Nigeria have killed more than 20 health…

Sustained Funding Necessary For Success Of Global Polio Eradication Plan

“[W]e are teaming up to tackle one of the most ambitious public health goals ever set: eradicating polio, a disease that has haunted humanity at least since ancient Egypt,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., and Bill Gates, chair of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill…

Community-Led Engagement, Greater Access Needed To End Polio

“While the challenges we face in the last polio reservoirs are difficult, they are not intractable,” Bekele Geleta, secretary general of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, writes in an AlertNet opinion piece. “To end polio forever, we must answer a critical question: what is the…

Editorial, Opinion Piece Address Efforts To Eradicate Polio

The Independent recently published an editorial and opinion piece discussing the global effort to eradicate polio. The following are summaries of the articles. Editorial: “Thanks to [polio] eradication efforts over the past 25 years, the total of cases worldwide has been reduced by 99 percent, to just 222 last year,”…

Examining GPEI Strategic Plan To End Polio

Writing in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Apoorva Mallya, a program officer for the foundation’s vaccine delivery team, highlights a recent Lancet editorial examining the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) six-year Strategic Plan to end polio. “As the editorial notes, there have been plans with target dates and…

Taliban Alleged To Have Stopped Annual Polio Vaccination Program In Rural Afghanistan

“The Taliban have halted an annual polio vaccination campaign in a remote part of Afghanistan, according to a senior official, raising concerns that opposition to the critical immunization drive could be spilling across from insurgent groups in neighboring Pakistan,” the Guardian reports. Tamim Nuristani, governor of the remote Nuristan province, said…