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October 8, 2010

World Polio Day, 24 October, is an ideal time to raise public awareness of the ravages of polio and garner support for eradication efforts.

October 24, marks the birth of Jonas Salk who as the leader of the team that invented a polio vaccine in 1955.

In 1988 Albert Sabin developed an oral polio vaccine. This is what we’re using today. It has reduced polio worldwide by 99%.

Tremendous progress has been made to eradicate polio in the last two decades.

Since 1988, about 2.5 billion children around the globe have been vaccinated against polio, and the number of polio cases per year has decreased by 99 percent.

The global fight against polio is one of the largest, most ambitious internationally coordinated health initiatives in history.

Many of the key pieces for polio eradication are in place: effective vaccines, the leadership of a global partnership, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), political will, dedicated volunteers, and a global mandate to eradicate the disease.

A last push is needed to eliminate polio in just a few areas in the world.

Northern Nigeria, northern India, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan account for more than 75 percent of global polio cases today. Halting poliovirus transmission in these endemic areas is vital not only for the populations in these areas but so that neighboring polio-free areas do not become reinfected.


69 cases in 2010 (50 WPV1, 19 WPV3). 62 cases at this time last year (40 WPV1, 21 WPV3, 1 WPV1/3).
Most recent NIDs: from 27 September. Next SNIDs: 11-13 October, using bOPV

  • With the large-scale population movements and expected intensified transmission of poliovirus due to the floods, concerns are growing over widespread polio transmission. More than 9 million children in the 36 districts worst-affected by the recent flooding were reached and immunized with mOPV1 and measles vaccine from 15 September. All polio-funded technical staff and 60% of administrative staff have been mobilized to assist with the response to the flood emergency, which has devastated health facilities and the vaccine cold chain. Pakistan polio team leader Dr Ni'ma Abid said the flood damage was "really beyond imagination".
  • The Federal Ministry of Health contacted key administrative officials in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to highlight the sharp increase in polio cases and urge the full implementation of the operational plan developed by the civil and military Polio Crisis Taskforce.
  • WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director Dr Gezairy visited Pakistan from 4-7 September and met with the Prime Minister, discussing polio eradication and ways to improve vaccination coverage.

Polio immunization reaches flood victims in Pakistan:

In Pakistan, the polio infrastructure is supporting the relief and rebuilding effort following the devastating floods, with polio-funded technical staff helping to establish early warning systems for diseases and providing essential medicines and broad immunization services. The Federal Minister for Health kicked off a special oral polio vaccine and measles vaccinations campaign in the 37 worst-affected districts due to floods, with NIDs being rolled out in two phases from 27 September. It is critical that these activities reach as many children as possible, with the floods having the potential to spread the virus to previously polio-free areas. Under the Prime Minister's Action Plan for Polio Eradication, which focuses on inter-sectoral collaboration, vaccination is also being delivered through the Motorway Police, 57 tollway plazas across the country, the National Database and Registration Authority (operating from its 188 special mobile registration vehicles throughout the country), and City Traffic police of Islamabad, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Multan and Lahore for the NIDs, who are handing out upwards of 300,000 information leaflets from 68 polio check points.

You are invited!
We meet every Monday at 6:00 pm at Pearl Continental Hotel, Mall Road, Rawalpindi. You are invited to attend our meeting.
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