Geneva, April 26, 2022 – Today, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced it is seeking new commitments to fund its 2022-2026 strategy at a virtual event to launch its investment plan. This strategy, if fully funded, will seed 370 million children per year over the next five years and continuing global surveillance activities for polio and other diseases in 50 Country.
During the virtual launch, the federal government, which holds the G7 presidency in 2022, announced that the country will co-host the GPEI strategy engagement at the 2022 World Health Summit. in October.
“ A strong, fully funded polio program will benefit health systems around the world. This is why it is so important that all stakeholders now commit to ensuring that the new eradication strategy can be fully implemented. »called Nils Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany. “ The timing of the polio pledge at the World Health Summit next October is a critical opportunity for donors and partners to reaffirm their support for a polio-free world. We can only succeed if we make polio eradication our shared priority. »
A polio-free world for every child
Wild poliovirus cases are at an all-time low and the disease is endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan, presenting a unique opportunity to disrupt transmission. However, recent developments, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the fragility of this progress. In February 2022, Malawi confirmed its first case of feral polio in three decades and the first on the African continent since 2016 linked to a virus originating in Pakistan, and in April 2022 Pakistan recorded its first case of feral polio since January 2021 Meanwhile, recent outbreaks of cVDPVs, poliovirus variants that can occur in communities with insufficient immunity, have been detected in Israel and Ukraine and are circulating in several countries in Africa and Asia.
The investment plan includes new models that show an estimated $33.1 could be saved by eradicating polio Billions of dollars over the century compared to the cost of fighting polio epidemics. At the launch event, GPEI leaders and polio-affected countries called for renewed political and financial support to end polio and protect children and future generations from the paralysis it causes.
“ Despite tremendous progress, polio still cripples far too many children around the world – one affected child is already too many »called Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF. “ We simply cannot allow another child to suffer from this devastating disease – not if we know how to prevent it. Not when we’re this close. We must do what we can to end this fight — and achieve a polio-free world for every child. »
Make polio a disease of the past
“ The resurgence of polio in Malawi after three decades is a tragic reminder that until polio is eradicated from the face of the earth, polio can spread around the world and harm children wherever they are. I call on all countries to unite behind the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and ensure it has the support and resources it needs to end polio for everyone around the world »called Mr. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP and Health Minister of Malawi.
The new eradication strategy focuses on integrating polio activities with other key health programs in affected countries, improving access to care for children in the most vulnerable communities who have never been vaccinated, and building engagement with local ones leaders and influencers to build trust and acceptance of the polio vaccine.
Saving future generations
“ The children of Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve to live free from an incurable and debilitating disease. With continued global support, we can make polio a disease of the past »he said dr Shahzad Baig, National Coordinator of Polio Eradication Program in Pakistan. “ The polio program also works to increase overall health equity in the most at-risk communities by holistically addressing the needs of the region, including strengthening routine immunizations, improving sanitation, and organizing public health campaigns. »
The investment plan outlines how supporting eradication efforts will help establish essential health services in underserved communities and strengthen overall defenses against future health threats.
Since 2020, GPEI infrastructure and staff have provided critical support to governments in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including promoting safe COVID practices, utilizing COVID-19 polio surveillance networks and laboratories to detect the virus and the Supporting COVID-19 immunization efforts through health worker training, community mobilization, data management and other activities.
“ Global efforts to eradicate polio from the history books will not only save future generations from this devastating disease, but also strengthen health systems and health security. »he said dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.
Additional quotes from the GPEI investment plan :
“ We have the knowledge and tools to eradicate polio from the face of the earth. The GPEI needs the resources to take the final step in eradicating this terrible disease. Investing in the GPEI will also help us identify and respond to other health emergencies. We can no longer hesitate now. Let’s take this opportunity to give our full support to the GPEI and create a world where no child will ever be paralyzed by polio again. »called Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“ Investing in polio eradication is more than just fighting a disease. It represents the ultimate investment in equity and sustainability – it is for everyone and forever. A key element of the GPEI strategy is to integrate planning and coordination of polio activities with essential health services to reach unvaccinated children with routine immunizations, thereby contributing to the 2030 immunization program goals »called Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“ Twenty million people are walking today thanks to the polio vaccine, and we’ve learned, improved and innovated over time. We are stronger and more resilient as we begin the final lap of this marathon to protect all future generations of children around the world from polio. Join us ; With our combined will and resources, we can seize the unprecedented opportunity to cross the finish line before us »called Mike McGovern, Chair of Rotary International’s PolioPlus International Commission.
Note to the editor :
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six core partners : Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. For more information on the global polio eradication effort, visit polioeradication.org.