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Polio eradication is achievable by 2018 and urgent, declare 400+ global scientists
Date:4/11/2013

ild poliovirus, proving that eradication is scientifically feasible. It calls on the international community to meet the goals in the GPEI plan for delivering polio vaccines to more children at risk, particularly in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where polio remains endemic and emergency action plans launched over the past year have resulted in significant improvements in vaccine coverage.

"Securing a lasting polio-free world goes hand in hand with strengthening routine immunization. We need all countries to prioritize investments in routine immunization," said Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, founding director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University. Dr. Bhutta, one of the declaration's leaders, is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, a technical advisory body to the GPEI.

The declaration emphasizes that achieving polio eradication requires efforts interrelated with strengthening routine immunization, a new focus of the GPEI plan. As the last cases of polio are contained, high levels of routine immunization will be critical. At the same time, resources and learning from polio eradication efforts can be used to strengthen coverage of other life-saving vaccines, including for children who have never been reached with any health interventions before.

The scientists and experts signing the declaration called on the international community to take steps outlined in the GPEI plan to address challenges that have posed obstacles to polio eradication in the past, including improving immunization campaign quality to reach missed children and eliminating rare polio cases originated by the oral polio vaccine. While previous polio efforts have sought to interrupt wild virus transmission and then address vaccine-derived virus, the new GPEI plan addresses both simultaneously with a timetable to phase out use of oral polio vaccines and introduce inactivated polio vaccines. The declaratio
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Contact: Dan Pawson
dpawson@globalhealthstrategies.com
718-873-3169
Global Health Strategies
Source:Eurekalert

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