Your Excellencies … Ladies and Gentlemen:
Rotary welcomes the update on transition planning, and acknowledges the ongoing progress to ensure the transfer of polio related assets.
The meeting of stakeholders convened in November 2018 to identify and address transition and related concerns was an important step forward. It is clear that continued discussion among stakeholders and countries, evaluation of progress and planning, and refinement of plans will be critical.
We acknowledge the delicate balance countries are navigating to ensure that initiatives that support transition do not supersede the focus on polio eradication. We encourage continued deliberate and thoughtful focus on transition at the country level, and welcome the plans reported for visits and other initiatives to support countries in this critical work.
We encourage the GPEI to continue to work toward the transition priorities of surveillance, outbreak response, including vaccine stockpile management, immunization, including the withdrawal of bOPV, and containment while also understanding that the primary focus is on polio eradication.
Transition is a bit like the youngest child of the GPEI, and one which requires care and nurturing while the GPEI continues to work on getting the older child - polio eradication - a young adult who is still living at home - successfully out of the nest. We have all heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child”.
In this case, it will take a global community committed to working with countries and all stakeholders. We continue to look to WHO to provide the firm, disciplined “parental love” and leadership of the transition process.
Rotary will continue to work to support the objectives of both polio eradication and transition. We encourage expanded collaboration and global commitment as a means to securing a polio free world as well as sustaining that achievement.