New journal supplement on the Polio Endgame provides a powerful resource to guide immunization programme planning
10 July 2017 - Geneva - Global polio eradication and immunization partners have today announced the launch of a new supplement to the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Polio Endgame and Legacy: Implementation, Best Practices, and Lessons Learned.
The 51 articles in the publication serve as a resource and reference on how to implement large scale, globally synchronized public health activities within ambitious timelines, and provides valuable insights for other initiatives looking to do the same.
This open access supplement represents the achievements and learning of a three-year multi-partner collaboration that was responsible for the activities set by objectives 2 and 4 of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. This includes efforts to coordinate implementation of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) introduction, switch oral polio vaccines (OPV), strengthen immunization systems, and ensure that the investments made in polio eradication secure longer term benefits.
Recent years have been marked by defining events that required intensive action towards the accelerated timelines of the Endgame Plan. In April 2016, the withdrawal of the type 2 component in the switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV in 155 countries and territories was described as a “marvellous feat” by Dr Margaret Chan, the former Director General of the World Health Organization. In preparation for the switch, the level of commitment of countries to introduce IPV signified a new collective momentum towards the goal of polio eradication. And as we come closer to achieving eradication, a transition process has been initiated to prepare for a polio-free world.
The effective and timely implementation of these activities speaks for the active engagement of multiple partners who contributed to many years of highly focused undertakings. Papers in the supplement offer detailed assessments of efforts across areas such as strategy and management, planning and implementation, communications, financing, vaccine supply, and routine immunization strengthening. Furthermore, regions and countries have directly contributed a significant number of papers to the supplement, offering a unique insight into the practical challenges that were overcome in a range of diverse settings.
Documentation of these experiences and lessons through the supplement provides an important record and has the potential to greatly inform future similar efforts; from globally coordinated public health initiatives, to the expected withdrawal of all OPVs, vaccine introductions, and polio transition planning.
The supplement can be accessed at no cost by visiting: