Global Health Council, Inc.
Global Health Council, supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, commends the Director-General’s report which emphasizes the need to implement and finance all aspects of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Polio Endgame Strategy 2019–2023 to ensure global certification of a polio-free world by 2023. We are pleased to see WHO bolster its alliances with other health programs and initiatives to jointly drive country impact, including the addition of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to the Polio Oversight Board.
As polio eradication nears and the phased removal of oral polio vaccine accelerates, we are pleased to see WHO’s commitment to helping countries transition to strengthening routine immunization and public health services; increasing the number of countries providing Measles-containing vaccines; prioritizing government expenditure on routine immunization; and expanding surveillance and laboratory systems at the country level. These systems will be responsible for continued surveillance and for ongoing delivery of the inactivated polio vaccine after eradication, ideally with Gavi support for eligible countries. We remain concerned about the Africa region’s post-transition laboratory capacity for wild poliovirus 2/vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 vaccine and the possible impact on a timely outbreak response. As such, more effort will be required to educate immunization and International Health Regulation constituencies about the identified resource gaps and to solicit their commitment to addressing them. To fully realize the Strategic Plan, continued support is needed from long-standing partners like the United States to ensure the uninterrupted operations required to achieve eradication by 2023.
We commend WHO’s recognition of maintaining the workforce required to support Member States in eradicating poliovirus, sustaining high levels of immunity, responding to outbreaks, and conducting surveillance.