This August, on the day that was to mark two years since the last case of wild polio in Africa, the Nigerian Government reported that two children had been paralysed by the disease in the country’s Borno state. As the Global Polio Eradication Initiative worked with governments in the region to immediately launch an emergency outbreak response, other areas of the world continued their efforts to end polio for good. Also in August, the Independent Monitoring Board released its 13th report assessing the status of eradication efforts globally, and the Islamic Advisory group convened to evaluate and provide guidance on polio eradication efforts in the Muslim world. These are some of the efforts that the programme continues to make to improve and ensure that eradication efforts are as strong as they can be in every corner of the world.

In this Issue

Polio Detected In Nigeria For The First Time Since July 2014

On 11 August, two new cases of wild polio were reported in Borno, Nigeria, offering a sobering reminder of how complicated it is to stop polio, particularly in places facing humanitarian crises and faltering health systems. Immediately after the cases were discovered, the polio programme worked quickly to assess the situation and, in collaboration with the Nigerian Government, launch an emergency response aiming to reach one million children with polio vaccines. This response is being followed by large-scale vaccination campaigns in neighbouring areas of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Central African Republic, which are at risk for circulation of the virus across borders. While the new cases are a setback, Nigeria and the rest of Africa have made significant progress against the disease in recent years and the programme is confident that, with expanded vaccination efforts, sensitive surveillance and strong government commitment at all levels, this outbreak can be stopped quickly. Read more

Independent Monitoring Board Releases 13th Report

The Independent Monitoring Board of the GPEI released its 13th report in August. These reports provide independent assessments and critiques of the programme, helping to refine and improve the GPEI’s work. In the most recent report, the IMB reinforced that only a relentless commitment to eradication efforts will stop polio once and for all, noting that there are areas of the programme that could be improved. Of note, cases were reported in Nigeria after the IMB met, and the report rightly points out the importance of surveillance and immunisation. Over the next several weeks, the GPEI partners will consider the recommendations made by the IMB to ensure that all partners work efficiently toward peak performance. Read more

Islamic Advisory Group Convenes To Discuss Polio Eradication Efforts

On 4 August, the Islamic Advisory Group convened at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for their third annual meeting to provide guidance and high-level leadership on polio eradication efforts across the Muslim world. The Islamic Development Bank has supported polio eradication efforts in the past by providing technical grants to African polio partners and US$100 million in funds to end polio. The discussion focused on building trust and encouraging community ownership of the polio programme, continuing government commitment for eradication efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and expanding the role of the Islamic Advisory Group to include maternal and child health interventions. Read more

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