GPEI Launches New Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-26
Umer Jamshaid 14 days ago Fri 11th June 2021 | 12:25 AM
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) on Thursday launched the 'Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-26: Delivering on a Promise' at a virtual event, to overcome the remaining challenges to end polio, including setbacks caused by COVID-19
ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th Jun, 2021 ) :The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) on Thursday launched the 'Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-26: Delivering on a Promise' at a virtual event, to overcome the remaining challenges to end polio, including setbacks caused by COVID-19.
While polio cases have fallen 99.9% since 1988, polio remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and persistent barriers to reaching every child with polio vaccines and the pandemic have contributed to an increase in polio cases as last year, 1226 cases of all forms of polio were recorded compared to 138 in 2018.
In 2020, the GPEI paused polio door-to-door campaigns for four months to protect communities from the spread of COVID-19 and contributed up to 30,000 programme staff and over $100 million in polio resources to support pandemic response in almost 50 countries.
Pakistan pledged to eradicate this vaccine-preventable disease and assured that the government is committed to strengthening its partnership with GPEI to improve vaccination campaigns and engagement with communities at high risk of polio.
Addressing on the occasion, Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said, "We are already hard at work with our GPEI partners to address the final barriers to ending polio in Pakistan, particularly through strengthening vaccination campaigns and our engagement with high-risk communities." "Eradication remains a top health priority and Pakistan is committed to fully implementing the new GPEI strategy. We look forward to working with international partners to achieve a polio-free world." The 2022-2026 Strategy underscores the urgency of getting eradication efforts back on track and offers a comprehensive set of actions that will position the GPEI to achieve a polio-free world.
These actions, many of which are underway in 2021, included further integrating polio activities with essential health services including routine immunization and building closer partnerships with high-risk communities to co-design immunization events and better meet their health needs, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Other plans including applying a gender equality lens to the implementation of programme activities, recognizing the importance of female workers to build community trust and improve vaccine acceptance.
The strategy will focus on strengthening advocacy to urge greater accountability and ownership of the program at all levels, including enhanced performance measurement and engagement with new partners, such as the new Eastern Mediterranean Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks; and, implementing innovative new tools, such as digital payments to front line health workers, to further improve the impact and efficiency of polio campaigns.
"With this new Strategy, the GPEI has clearly outlined how to overcome the final barriers to securing a polio-free world and improve the health and well being of communities for generations to come," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and member of the Polio Oversight board.
"But to succeed, we urgently need renewed political and financial commitments from governments and donors. Polio eradication is at a pivotal moment. It is important we capitalize on the momentum of the new Strategy and make history together by ending this disease."