Global Polio Eradication
June 27, 2013
A new CSIS Global Health Policy Center video reviews progress made in the fight against polio and outlines the new strategy to get rid of the disease permanently.
Nellie Bristol and J. Stephen Morrison
After 25 years of remarkable achievements and sometimes harrowing setbacks, a successful conclusion to global polio eradication could finally be within reach. Every effort should be made to capitalize on this promising moment: if we don't, the opportunity to eradicate polio may slip by.
Report: Chapter 4: "U.S. Policy Priorities for Global Polio Eradication" in Global Health Policy in the Second Obama Term
Nellie Bristol and Phillip Nieburg
This volume analyzes seven important dimensions of a complex, widening U.S. global health agenda: HIV/AIDS; malaria; polio eradication; women’s health; health security; health diplomacy; and multilateral partners. Each chapter strives to catalog and interpret the past four years’ developments in their respective focal area, charting the measurable health impacts for which the United States can claim at least partial credit, and highlighting persistent problems and challenges. The essays conclude with concrete recommendations on how the United States can achieve the best results in the next four years in promoting the improvement of health, especially among the world’s most vulnerable citizens.
Nellie Bristol discusses the U.S. role in supporting global polio eradication.
This paper provides an overview of the global polio eradication effort, emphasizing the U.S. role. The purpose is to explain how the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) came to where it is today and discuss plans for moving it forward. The focus on the United States is not meant to detract from the enormous international investments or essential contributions of individuals from other countries. But by highlighting American involvement, the paper aims to help U.S. policymakers understand the costs, benefits, and challenges of polio eradication and plans to complete eradication and transition GPEI methods and resources into other programs.
Robert D. Lamb et al.
Polio has a real possibility of being eradicated worldwide. Efforts to eradicate the virus have proved largely successful, in part thanks to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The number of new cases has dropped in the past decade, even in countries where the virus has never been eradicated. India was removed from the WHO list of polio endemic countries in February 2012; its last reported case was in January 2011. In 2003, when polio was confined to only six countries, clerics in one of those countries, Nigeria, banned the vaccine, and as a result, the Nigerian strain spread to 16 countries worldwide, including Angola, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had previously been declared polio free. GPEI battled new outbreaks in eight additional African countries in 2011 and successfully interrupted transmission in all of them. Today, there are only three countries in the world where the polio virus remains endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Jennifer G. Cooke and Farha Tahir
Since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)—an international partnership of government and private institutions—has reduced the number of reported polio cases worldwide by more than 99 percent, successfully eliminating polio from much of the globe. Yet Nigeria remains one of the most entrenched reservoirs of poliovirus in the world. Continued transmission in 7 of Nigeria’s northern states has led to reintroduction of the virus in at least 12 African countries previously declared polio free, repeatedly dashing hopes that global targets for eradication—first in 2000, then in 2005—could be met. The Nigerian experience has underscored the complexity of the eradication endeavor and vividly demonstrates the fragility and reversibility of gains made to date. Now, with a new target date for global eradication set for the end of 2012, the stakes are extremely high. Concern that this new target may be missed has spurred an urgent “now or never” push by GPEI members to apply the lessons of the last decade and ensure that Nigeria will be polio free by 2013.
Teresita C. Schaffer
There is a good chance that India’s polio eradication campaign will tell a more inspiring story. If this milestone endures, it will be the result of a persistent and focused effort and unprecedented collaboration among Indian scientists, administrators, and their international counterparts. The campaign has combined cutting-edge research on vaccines, old-fashioned door-to-door follow-up, public and private outreach, political drive, and relentless surveillance. It has had to overcome what the program’s Indian and international leaders regard as a unique combination of biologic and epidemiologic challenges, as well as classic speed bumps in navigating India’s bureaucracy. The effort’s ultimate legacy—beyond the unquestioned benefit of reducing or eliminating paralytic polio—will depend on how India’s health leaders consolidate their victory, and how they embed the institutional sources of their apparent success into the country’s remarkably diverse health system.