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Security Concerns Hindering Polio Immunizations In Pakistan, WHO Official Says

“Some 240,000 children have missed U.N.-backed vaccinations against polio because of security concerns in Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a top official with the World Health Organization said Friday,” the Associated Press/Huffington Post reports. “Nima Saeed Abid, the acting WHO chief in Pakistan, said health workers have not been able to immunize…

Parents, Officials In Pakistan Working To Bring Polio Vaccine To Areas Under Militant Control

“Parents and officials are going to great lengths to immunize children after militants imposed a ban on polio vaccinations in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan Agency,” with some parents “traveling long distances to get their children vaccinated” or “smuggling the vaccine back home,” IRIN reports. “Militants in the area banned all polio vaccinations…

Bill Gates Tours Ghana’s Health System, Discusses Polio Eradication

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “is currently in Ghana to assess the country’s health systems,” Ventures Africa reports. Gates “touched down in Accra March 25, 2013, and says he is in Ghana to get firsthand information on why the country’s immunization system is working so…

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…

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…

Japan Provides $2.6M To UNICEF To Aid Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program

“The Government of Japan has extended a grant of 226 million Japanese Yen (approximately US$2.62 million) to Pakistan through UNICEF for supporting the polio eradication program in Pakistan,” Agence France-Presse/Dawn.com reports. “About $2 million out of the total grant will cover the procurement of approximately 13 million doses of oral polio vaccine…

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,”…

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…