Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General and Chair of the Polio Oversight Board, has issued a personal response to the extraordinary joint statement published in January by the Chairs of the main, independent, advisory and oversight committees of the GPEI. The joint statement is an impassioned plea by the Chairs of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE), the Independent Monitoring Board, the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Regarding International Spread of Poliovirus and the Global Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (GCC) – the Chairs urged everyone involved in the GPEI to ensure polio will finally be assigned to the history books by 2023.
On 27 March 2019, the WHO’s Southeast Asia Region marked five years since being declared wild polio-free, with the last case in the Region detected in India on 13 January 2011. The five-year anniversary of SEARO certification celebrated success in India and across countries of the region, showcasing how countries have used the skills, knowledge and infrastructure built up by the polio programme after eradication and highlight lessons learned from the Region that are now being applied in other parts of the world.
Summary of new viruses this week: Pakistan – two wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV-1) cases and 15 WPV1-positive environmental samples; Nigeria— two circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases, one cVDPV2-positive environmental. See country sections below for more details.