Global Polio Eradication Initiative launches 2010-2012 Strategic Plan for interrupting polio worldwide

In Geneva, a broad range of stakeholders had formally launched the new Strategic Plan 2010-2012 for eradicating wild poliovirus.

Polio eradication sits at a critical juncture. Across Africa, 10 of the 15 previously polio-free countries re-infected in 2009 have successfully stopped their outbreaks. Key endemic countries are witnessing historic gains against the disease. Nowhere is progress more evident than Nigeria, where case numbers have plummeted by more than 99% – from 312 cases at this time last year, to three in 2010. In India, for the first time ever, the remaining endemic states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have not reported any wild poliovirus type 1 cases concurrently for more than six months.

This meeting in Geneva wass being held to build on the gains already made in 2010 and to galvanize new action on polio eradication. Last month, the World Health Assembly welcomed the new plan while expressing deep concern about the US $1.3 billion funding shortfall (out of a budget of US $2.6 billion) over the next three years. This financing shortfall is a serious risk to the eradication of polio – activities are already being cut back or postponed due to a lack of funds.

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