GPEI calls for renewed commitments to realize the promise of a polio-free world – World

A budget of US$4.8 billion is needed to implement a new strategy and eradicate infectious diseases

GENEVA, April 26, 2022

Today, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced that it is seeking new commitments to fund its 2022-2026 strategy at a virtual event to launch its investment case. The strategy, if fully funded, will see the vaccination of 370 million children a year for the next five years and the continuation of global surveillance activities for polio and other diseases in 50 countries.

During the virtual launch, the German government, which holds the G7 Presidency in 2022, announced that the country will co-host the GPEI Strategy Pledge Moment during the 2022 World Health Summit in October.

“A strong, fully funded polio program will benefit health systems around the world. This is why it is so crucial that all stakeholders commit now to ensure that the new eradication strategy can be fully implemented,” said Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany. “The timing of polio pledges at the World Health Summit in October is a critical opportunity for donors and partners to reiterate their support for a polio-free world. We can only succeed if we make polio eradication our common priority.

Wild poliovirus cases are at an all-time low and the disease is endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing a unique opportunity to interrupt transmission. However, recent developments, due in part to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the fragility of this progress. In February 2022, Malawi confirmed its first case of wild polio in three decades and the first on the African continent since 2016, linked to a virus originating in Pakistan, and in April 2022, Pakistan recorded its first case of wild polio. since January 2021. Meanwhile, outbreaks of cVDPV, poliovirus variants that can emerge in underimmunized communities, have recently been detected in Israel and Ukraine and are circulating in several countries in Africa and Asia.

The investment case describes new modeling that shows that achieving eradication could save an estimated US$33.1 billion this century, compared to the price of controlling polio outbreaks. At the launch event, GPEI leaders and polio-affected countries called for renewed political and financial support to end polio and protect children and future generations from the paralysis it brings. causes.

“Despite enormous progress, polio still paralyzes far too many children around the world – and even one child is too many,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “We simply cannot allow another child to suffer from this devastating disease – not when we know how to prevent it. Not when we are so close. We must do whatever it takes to end the fight – and achieve to a polio-free world”. for every child.”

“The resurgence of polio in Malawi after three decades has been a tragic reminder that until polio is wiped off the face of the earth, it can spread globally and harm children everywhere. I urge all countries to unite behind the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and ensure it has the support and resources it needs to end polio for everyone, everywhere.” , said the Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda MP, Minister of Health, Malawi.

The new eradication strategy focuses on integrating polio activities with other essential health programs in affected countries, improving coverage of children in most-at-risk communities who have never been vaccinated and on building engagement with local leaders and influencers to build trust and vaccine acceptance.

“The children of Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve to live a life free from an incurable and crippling disease. With continued global support, we can make polio a disease of the past,” said Dr Shahzad Baig, National Coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme. “The polio program also works to increase overall health equity in communities most at risk by addressing the needs of the region in a holistic way, including strengthening routine immunization, improving health facilities and organizing health camps.

The investment case outlines how supporting eradication efforts will deliver essential health services to underserved communities and strengthen global defenses against future health threats.

Since 2020, GPEI infrastructure and staff have provided critical support to governments in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including promoting COVID-19 safe practices, leveraging surveillance polio and laboratory networks to detect the virus, and supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts through health worker trainings, community mobilization, data management and other activities.

“The global effort to relegate polio to the history books will not only help save future generations from this devastating disease, but will also serve to strengthen health systems and health security,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO.

Additional quotes from the GPEI Investment Case:

“We have the knowledge and the tools to eradicate polio from the face of the earth. The GPEI needs the resources to walk the last mile towards the eradication of this terrible disease. Investing in the GPEI will also help us detect and respond to other health emergencies. We can don’t hesitate now. Let us all take this opportunity to fully support the GPEI and create a world in which no child will ever again be paralyzed by polio,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“An investment in polio eradication goes beyond fighting a single disease. It is the ultimate investment in equity and sustainability – it is for everyone and forever. of the GPEI strategy focuses on integrating planning and coordination of health activities and services to reach zero-dose children who have never been vaccinated with routine vaccines, thus contributing to goals of the 2030 Immunization Agenda,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Twenty million people are walking today thanks to polio vaccination, and we have learned, improved and innovated along the way. We are stronger and more resilient as we enter the final lap of this marathon to protect all future generations of the world’s children against polio. Please join us; with our collective will and resources, we can seize the unprecedented opportunity to cross the finish line that lies before us.” said Mike McGovern, chair of Rotary International’s PolioPlus International Commission.

Media contacts:

Oliver Rosenbauer Communications Officer, World Health Organization E-mail: [email protected] Tel: +41 79 500 6536

Ben Winkel Director of Communications, Global Health Strategies Email: [email protected] Tel: +1 323 382 2290

Sabrina Sidhu UNICEF New York Email: [email protected] Tel: +19174761537

Christy J. Olson