Polio infrastructure critical to promote universal health coverage and robust health systems. On 27 March 2014, the World expects to witness the successful completion of a long journey of the WHO South-East Asia Region in its battle against polio.
Mumbai, maharashtra, India, March 20, 2014 - (PressReleasePoint) - On 27 March 2014, the World expects to witness the successful completion of a long journey of the WHO South-East Asia Region in its battle against polio.
Based on the independent review and assessment of the national documentations from all the 11 National Certification Committees of Member States for several years, the Regional Certification Commission of the South- East Asia Region is expected to announce its decision of certifying the region polio free.
South-East Asia will be the fourth WHO Region to join the WHO Regions of the Americas (1994), the Western Pacific (2000) and European (2002).
“This will be a momentous occasion for the millions of health workers who have worked with governments, nongovernmental organizations, civil society and partners to eradicate polio from the Region,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.
No single country can be certified as polio-free alone. WHO certification of a Region as polio-free can happen after all its countries report 3 years without a single new case of polio due to wild poliovirus.
“It proves that such an achievement can also be reached for diseases such as measles and rubella. By preventing a debilitating disease, polio eradication helps to reduce poverty and gives children and their families a greater chance of leading healthy and productive lives. We must learn from polio eradication and make use of the infrastructure, capacities and innovative strategies to combat other diseases,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh.
She added that the polio eradication program provides important lessons on how to overcome geographical, technological, social and financial barriers in health service delivery. It helps to promote universal health coverage and robust health systems. As a result, health personnel and community workers are trained and provided with critical equipment to improve vaccination and health services for other childhood diseases. Comprehensive global laboratory and communication networks are built and used for other diseases too. Most recently, they played a critical role in responding to avian influenza.
“Completing the journey of polio eradication in the Region is just the beginning. Now we must use this polio victory to accelerate vaccine preventable disease control and strengthen health systems. Our collective vision must protect every child, everywhere, every time,” added Dr Khetrapal Singh.