For over thirty (30) years Rotary International, along with its global partners, has been working to eliminate Polio from the face of the earth. For many years the initiative was headed in the right direction with 74 cases in 2015, 37 cases in 2016, and 22 cases in 2017.  A bit of a set back in 2018 with 33 cases reported world wide.  This year, 2019, is not shaping up too well as through the week July 24th we have had 56 new cases of polio derived from the wild polio virus reported. Eleven of these cases have been in Afghanistan and the remaining 45 in Pakistan.  Pakistan has vowed not to be the last country to eliminate Polio, but their efforts have slipped this year. Let’s take a look at current information from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  
Global Polio Eradication Initiative(GPEI) partners work all across the globe to ensure no child is paralyzed by polio ever again.
Stopping all poliovirus
Today, the three countries of focus are AfghanistanNigeria and Pakistan as they have never stopped transmission of endemic wild poliovirus.  The countries are working to deliver vaccination services to their people, to carry out sensitive disease surveillance, and to cooperate to immunize migrating populations across their common border. GPEI also supports countries that experience or are vulnerable to the rise of vaccine-derived polio viruses (VDPVs), which are rare and only occur when polio vaccination rates are low. When VDPV cases occur, high levels of vaccination, robust surveillance, and rapid outbreak response are critical.
Keeping the world safe
GPEI is also working to strengthen surveillance and immunization systems in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions of the World Health Organization to ensure that polio has truly ended and immunity against the virus improves. In many countries of the world, surveillance against polio is maintained through the GPEI, and vaccination activities continue to make sure children remain protected as long as there is polio anywhere.
Now lets look at one of the endemic countries,Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is one of only three countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Nigeria and Pakistan. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is focusing on reaching every last child in Afghanistan with vaccines, strengthening surveillance and maintaining political commitment, financial resources and technical support at all levels.

Stopping Polio in Afghanistan

To ensure more children than ever before are reached with the polio vaccine, the campaigns in Afghanistan must be the highest-quality in the program’s history. The focus is on reaching every child with vaccines, particularly those who have been persistently missed. Afghanistan and Pakistan must work together to stop the virus for good, with an emphasis on high-quality immunization activities and surveillance to close remaining immunity gaps and quickly find the virus wherever it is hiding.
Afghanistan’s Emergency Operations Centres are working under a National Emergency Action Plan to ensure that chronically missed children are consistently reached now and in the future. Cross border teams, permanent transit teams and special nomadic teams are helping reach children on the move.
Much of the country remains polio-free, despite the deteriorating security situation throughout the country. However, these gains are fragile, and we must continue to focus on improvements in surveillance and campaign quality to find and respond to the virus wherever it emerges and stop it for good.
For more and up to date information on the GPEI, visit: