|© UNICEF/HQ06-1830/Josh Estey|
|INDONESIA: A child receives oral polio vaccine at the ‘Posyandu’ (integrated health post) in Sesawi District on West Timur.|
Between 2003 and 2007, twenty seven countries were re-infected with imported poliovirus, twenty of them as a result of viruses originating from northern Nigeria. Consequently, 2005-2006 was a period of unprecedented innovation to address these challenges. Medical advancement, such as the development of monovalent vaccines (mOPV) and refined infection confirmation procedures, combined with targeted communication activities to help many of the re-infected countries again achieve polio free status.
The six remaining countries, Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Myanmar and Somalia, reported at total 64 cases on WPV in 2007, less than half of the number of the previous year. Activities at the global and regional level focused on outbreak response and capacity development. Rapid surveys of national capacity were conducted and countries were provided human resources as well as technical guidance. Communication activities have been tailored to the specific needs of each re-infected country, including national campaigns and localized efforts to reach underserved populations in at-risk areas. Country programs have also been backed up by global support activities include training, strategic guidance and media / advocacy.
Nevertheless, virus circulation has persisted in Niger, spilling over again in to Chad and Sudan in 2007. The DRC has also had an increase in cases, with nearly five times as many cases reported this year as in 2006. A communication STOP team is now being deployed to Niger, but activities in Chad and DRC will require longer term support through global monitors and continued technical guidance.
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