“India has not had a case of polio in nine months, raising hopes the country is on the verge of defeating the disease, health officials said Monday,” the Associated Press reports. “India remains one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, and the nine months that it has been without a case is the longest since eradication efforts were launched nearly two decades ago,” the AP writes, adding, “A country is declared polio free when no cases of the disease are reported for three years, according to the World Health Organization.”
A new report from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) “has concluded that the major obstacle to eradication is not political or scientific or monetary, but something seemingly mundane — bad management,” health reporter Andre Picard writes in his Globe and Mail column, adding that “the panel offers concrete proposals for what needs to be done to close the deal.” He continues, “The fundamental problem though, according to the expert panel, is that the global eradication effort is overeager to celebrate the successes (like India) and ignore the failures (like Pakistan).”
UNICEF released a statement on Tuesday correcting an October 21 report by its office in Madagascar “expressing concern over a resurgence of polio in Madagascar after a routine health survey identified vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in several healthy children.” According to the statement, “there was no re-emergence of polio in Madagascar,” and “[t]he last wild poliovirus case in Madagascar was detected in 1997.”
Meeting With Bill Gates, Nigerian President Jonathan Re-Affirms Country's Commitment To Eradicating Polio Within Two Years
In a meeting at the presidential villa on Thursday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan told Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “that he was determined to eradicate polio within two years after the crippling disease re-emerged earlier this year,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Some 36 powerful Nigerian state governors Thursday signed a statement re-confirming their February 2009 commitment to … reach at least 90 percent of children with polio vaccine with the goal of wiping out polio from the country,” the news agency writes. According to AFP, Gates, who on Thursday completed a three-day trip to the country, “expressed confidence that polio can be stopped in Nigeria and commended the country’s leaders for redoubling their resolve to help finish polio once and for all, the foundation said in a statement” (9/29).
Chad’s President Idris Deby, alongside Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Friday launched a three-day polio vaccination campaign at the Friendship China-Chad hospital “as part of efforts to rid the central African nation of the infectious disease,” AlertNet reports. According to the WHO, “of the 401 declared cases of polio around the globe this year, 114 were in Chad, making it the world’s worst-hit nation,” the news service writes. Polio was presumed to be eradicated from Chad, which did not report any cases between June 2000 and July 2003, but the country has experienced a resurgence of the disease since 2003, AlertNet notes (Nako, 10/1).
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…
With 63 cases of polio diagnosed in Pakistan this year, nearly double the number recorded in the same time period 2010, the U.N. “says that these findings suggest Pakistan could be the ‘last polio reservoir worldwide’ â€“ the country standing in the way of eliminating only the second global epidemic disease after smallpox,” the Atlantic Wire reports.
PBS NewsHour reports on polio eradication efforts underway in India’s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, which “have been the source of all the polio viruses that have crippled children in India, â€¦ one of four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, though it appears it may be on the cusp of finally halting transmission,” according to the news service.
“The 36-member Nigerian Governors’ Forum has launched a new initiative to rid the country of polio,” VOA News reports.
The May 26 issue of Nature explores vaccines, which the journal says “are responsible for some of the world’s greatest public health triumphs.” Though new vaccines for deadly diseases have been developed in the past 10 years, and more are in development, “funding is tight, and unfounded doubts about the safety of vaccines persist.” The issue features stories on polio, measles, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as issues surrounding vaccine rejection and hysteria about risk (5/26).