With polio cases at their lowest number ever in 2012 but with serious challenges still ahead, the next several years are pivotal for global efforts to eradicate polio. Spearheaded by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) earlier this year released a new six-year plan. The strategy outlines steps to end polio transmission, help improve childhood immunization programs, and begin a worldwide polio vaccine transition. While the plan is considered to be solid approach to eradicating poliovirus, the initiative faces a variety of obstacles including deadly violence aimed at health workers in several of the remaining endemic countries, new outbreaks in previously polio-free areas, and continued difficulties reaching all children with vaccines. Nonetheless, high level commitment to eradication remains strong in the most affected countries and internationally.
Find additional in-depth analyses of the polio eradication effort at: SmartGlobalHealth.org/Polio