Regional Committee Holds 7th Meeting to Eradicate Polio


by Hamna Bano

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On 28th February, the seventh regional subcommittee for Polio Eradication and outbreaks was conducted. A common goal of ‘Health for All by All’ was discussed during the meeting. With that, an expectation to call for action and solidarity was expected from and among the stakeholders. 

It was discussed in the meeting that the progress achieved globally is helping a lot in taking further steps to eradicate polio. Pondering over the eradication of endemic wild poliovirus transmission, it has been observed that the transmission is now only restricted to two countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan. 


As per the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Strategy 2022 - 2026, 2023 has been declared the target year for eliminating all the remaining poliovirus transmission globally. 

The staff at the major hospitals in Pakistan i.e Hameed Latif Hospital, Shifa International Hospital, and South City Hospital are playing their part in making parents aware of the deadly disease of polio. 

While appreciating the recently intensified efforts of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, a unique epidemiological window of opportunity was revealed as an opportunity to achieve success in 2023. 

In the past, geographic restriction of the poliovirus transmission in 2022 to eastern Afghanistan and a few districts of Northwest Pakistan was observed. On the contrary, an absence noted of any wild poliovirus since September 2022 has been highlighted. 

The significant decline in the genetic biodiversity of the wild poliovirus to just a single lineage in each country is still alarming.

Emphasizing the opportunity to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission, it was suggested must be thought over. Given the unusual epidemiological progress and the inherent risks of delay in stopping polio, it is more likely that it would result in a bad resurgence of polio. 

It was also debated that the ongoing risk of the transmission of the poliovirus with the detection of wild poliovirus in environmental samples in both countries confirms cross-border transmission. 


In the end, it was declared by the members of the Regional Subcommittee for Polio Eradication that, “We will focus all efforts on reaching remaining missed children with oral polio vaccine, within a broader humanitarian response context in the remaining most consequential geography of eastern Afghanistan and in north-western Pakistan.”