The fight against Polio rages on with WHO and other agencies.
The World Polio Day falls on 24th October in 2011 and it is once again the time to take stock of the polio eradication drives around the world. The World Health Assembly, the decision making body of World Health Organisation (WHO) constituted an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) three years ago. The third report of IMB is out after thorough qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
The goals set out by the IMB when its last report was sent to the heads of WHO, UNICEF, CDC (Centre for Disease Control, USA), Rotary International and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were the following –
- No recurrence of polio in India by the end of the year 2011.
- Preventing the transmission of polio in north-west region of Nigeria.
- Stopping the spread of type 3 poliovirus the end of year 2011.
- Expansion of medical facilities for eradication of polio in Chad and DR Congo. Collecting of data that reflect this extent of the expansion of polio by October 2011.
- Reducing the no. of polio afflicted people in Pakistan by the second half of 2011. Showing evidence that National Emergency Plan is running well in the Sindh province.
- The field reports should show that poor efforts at vaccination and surveillance due to bad quality of campaigns or inadequate local leadership have declined.
The conclusion of the report says that most of the countries are not on track to achieve the plan objectives by the end of 2011. The only positive news coming from the report has been that India has demonstrated progress consistently while other countries have lagged behind. Pakistan and Nigeria are two countries where the polio drive is of most concern. On the whole the plan does not seem to be on the right track.
One of the reasons being cited as the major problem marring the success of WHO’s plan is major funding gap. The programme does not seem on track to achieve its 2012 plan. Seeing this world situation, the Rotary clubs all over the world have made a call to raise funds for wiping out this crippling disease. Since the disease does not have any cure and the only way to prevent your child from it is to get him a vaccine after birth, raising of funds to provide for the equipment may solve the problem. The authorities probably need to find out whether there are any leakages in the funds allocated for polio eradication.
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