The new plan, entitled: śPolio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013“2018,ť made available to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, was developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in extensive consultation with a broad range of stakeholders.
The plan incorporates the lessons learned from India™s success in becoming polio-free in early 2012 and cutting-edge knowledge about the risk of circulating vaccine-derived polio viruses.
It also complements the tailored Emergency Action Plan implemented since last year in the remaining polio-endemic countries “ Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria “ and include approaches in place to vaccinate children in insecure areas.
The new plan capitalises on the best opportunity to eradicate polio, with the number of children paralyzed by the disease at the lowest level ever with 223 cases in 2012 and only 19 so far this year.
The new plan™s urgency is linked to the tremendous advances made in 2012 and the narrow window of opportunity to seize on that progress and stop all polio virus transmission before polio-free countries become re-infected.
The plan addresses the operational challenges of vaccinating children, including those in densely populated urban areas, hard-to-reach areas and areas of insecurity.
It includes the use of polio eradication experience and resources to strengthen immunization systems in high-priority countries.
The plan also lays out a process for planning how to transfer the GPEI™s resources and lessons, particularly in reaching the most marginalised and vulnerable children and communities so that they continue to be of service to other public health efforts.
The plan™s 5.5 billion dollars budget over six years requires sustaining current yearly spending to eradicate polio.
The budget includes the costs of reaching and vaccinating more than 250 million children multiple times every year, monitoring and surveillance in more than 70 countries, and securing the infrastructure that can benefit other health and development programs.
GPEI developed the plan in extensive consultation with national health authorities, global health initiatives, scientific experts, donors and other stakeholders.
There are four main objectives of the plan: Poliovirus Detection and Interruption, Immunization Systems Strengthening and Oral Polio Vaccine Withdrawal, Containment and Certification and Legacy Planning.
The GPEI is spearheaded by national governments, the WHO, Rotary International, United Nations International Children™s Fund and supported by key partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.