TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

WHO, governments and scientists seek to end polio by 2018

A new contract to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018 has been established with the support of the WHO, an international community of scientists and government bodies.

The Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, formed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, hopes to cure the world of polio, a disease which attacks the children across the globe. The initiative acknowledges significant advancements in technology to fight against polio and strategizes how to rid the world of the disease within the next five years.

Since the development of polio vaccinations in the late 1950s-early 1960s, new cases of wild poliovirus have fallen from 350,000 in 125 countries to only 250 in 5 countries in 2012, according to the GPEI. Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, three of the five affected countries, initiated emergency plans in 2012 to eradicate the disease permanently.

The EESP outlines how to eliminate polio over the next 5 years by means of administering vaccines to those who have not yet received them and by administering a stronger vaccine to protect against a stronger strand of poliovirus.

Aside from the eradication of polio, this initiative seeks to make life-saving immunizations readily available to every child in the world. An increase in infrastructure will be needed to ensure routine immunizations to meet this goal, benefiting children in every corner of the world.

The GPEI warns against scaling back on efforts, since this disease can be transmitted from human-to-human and spreads quickly. Without routine immunizations, it projects to see a jump from 250 to 200,000 infected persons in one year.

The initiative has received support from 439 signatories representing 80 countries.