Repurposing Global Polio Eradication's Tool Kit
September 22, 2014
The 26-year, $11 billion Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is one of the largest public health programs ever. While global eradication remains frustratingly elusive, the GPEI has reduced the annual number of polio cases by more than 99 percent since the initiative began. In the process, it has developed innovative and important public health assets, both tangible and intangible. They range from a state-of-the-art global polio laboratory network to community-based oversight and planning methods that have allowed the program to immunize children who have never been reached before by health services. The GPEI is now beginning a “polio legacy” planning process that will help countries outline ways to use polio resources for other health initiatives, such as improving delivery of all childhood vaccines. India already has begun the transition by, among other things, expanding polio surveillance systems to address other vaccine-preventable diseases. This report describes GPEI goals and processes for planning for a polio legacy and examines the opportunities for and challenges to moving forward in India.