Leaders at the World Health Assembly Urge Action to Eliminate Polio


by Hamna Bano

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To eradicate polio once and for all, leaders at Geneva’s World Health Assembly gathered to urge action to be taken.

Representatives at the World Health Assembly that ended a few days back concluded that, to take any effective action a window of opportunity still resides.  So, the possibility of an action to be taken against polio spread will remain open nonetheless.

After the experts pointed out the recent developments as in the new emerging cases of polio in Pakistan, the representatives pointed out immediate actions to be taken. Other new cases reported in Ukraine, South East Asia, and Israel also pushed leaders to gather during the assembly.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative  released on Monday says that “ recent efforts have had a clear impact on the global epidemiology of poliovirus, with endemic wild poliovirus transmission at extremely low levels, with just Pakistan and Afghanistan remaining endemic, and efforts to curb circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs) bearing fruit.”

“Steps have been taken toward securing the legacy of polio eradication systems and know-how, under the Strategic Action Plan for Polio Transition”, adds the statement.


Director-General WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus while speaking to the assembly said that “Worrying developments in recent months highlight how fragile this progress is. This year, we have the real opportunity to halt wild poliovirus transmission. At the same time, we must respond faster and better to cVDPV outbreaks, to interrupt all transmission by end-2023.”

The major point of the assembly was achieving zero-dose children. The assembly showed the significance of inter-country collaboration and cooperation. It was discussed that highlighting the polio urgency will make the world less worried about one more infectious disease.

It now is the responsibility of other countries that are polio-free to put in efforts by assisting other countries in building a vigorous infrastructure and more robust health systems.