Bill & Melinda
Polio eradication is a top priority of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a major supporter of the GPEI, they contribute technical and financial resources to our GPEI partners to accelerate efforts to eradicate polio. Many of these strategies are proven, such as targeted vaccination campaigns, community mobilisation, and stronger routine immunisation efforts. They are also working with partners on innovative ways to enhance polio surveillance and outbreak response, accelerate the development and use of safer and more effective polio vaccines, and galvanise financial and political support for polio eradication efforts from both donor and polio-affected countries.
To accelerate the effort to stop transmission in Pakistan, Foundation has been implementing national emergency plans that are overseen by respective heads of state and are helping to increase accountability and quality of polio vaccination campaigns from the national to the local level.
These improvements have helped Pakistan reduce the number of polio cases from 198 in 2011 to 56 in 2012; Afghanistan saw a decrease from 80 to 35 during the same period. Cases in Nigeria increased from 62 in 2011 to 119 in 2012, but renewed efforts to improve campaign quality are showing some positive results.
Progress against polio in Pakistan is critical to achieve global eradication because polio anywhere means there is a risk of polio everywhere. A recent outbreak in China proved to be genetically linked to earlier transmission in Sindh while virus circulation in Afghanistan has been linked to transmission of wild poliovirus in Sindh, Balochistan and KP/FATA.
The government plans to increase accountability for the polio program at the Union Council level as well as efforts to ensure that vaccinators hired to deliver polio vaccines at the household level are of the appropriate age and gender, better trained and supervised, and paid on time and directly.
The foundation will continue to work with the Government of Pakistan and other partners, including WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International to ensure that all children, in Pakistan and around the world, are protected from polio.