Joint statement by WHO-UNICEF-ROTARY on World Polio Day
Afar Region, Ethiopia, 05 November 2022 – Today we commemorate the 2022 World Polio Day (WPD) to highlight progress made by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and partners towards polio eradication, and we – the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and ROTARY – reaffirm our commitment to continue delivering on our promise until polio is eliminated in Ethiopia.
World Polio Day commemorations for this year kicked off globally on 24th October 2022 with the theme “World Polio Day 2022 and Beyond: A healthier future for mothers and Children”.
Global partners and health workers have worked tirelessly for many years to bring polio cases down by 100 per cent worldwide. Africa has also made tremendous progress towards the eradication of the wild poliovirus (WPV), and in 2020, the WHO Africa Region was certified as wild polio-free, thanks to countries’ sustained commitment and coordination of partners.
However, the job is not yet done, and a non-wild polio variant continues to circulate in under-immunized communities until wild polio still threatens a few countries in Africa and beyond.
We have several means to stop all forms of polio in Africa. In 2021, Ethiopia has introduced a new polio vaccine (nOPV2), which is now in use throughout the country.
Countries must commit to vaccinating every child and strengthening disease surveillance to end any form of polio, anywhere in the world, as it is a threat to children everywhere.
Last month, donors pledged about US$ 2.6 billion at the World Health Summit that will help the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to continue its critical role in fighting poliomyelitis to strengthen health systems around the world to end polio.
As we commemorate World Polio Day, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to continue working with the Government of Ethiopia, to ensure that every child, everywhere, is vaccinated to stop the circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus in Ethiopia.
The remarkable progress in Ethiopia would not have been possible without the leadership of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the commitment of frontline workers, and the generous support of polio partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ROTARY, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, WHO, UNICEF, Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations (CCRDA/CORE Group) and other Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners.
As we jointly commemorate World Polio Day, we call up on the Government of Ethiopia and our immunization partners to join us in celebrating the progress we have collectively made so far, including achieving and maintaining wild poliovirus-free status. We also reaffirm our joint commitment to end the circulation of all forms of polio in Ethiopia.
Let us reach the vulnerable and marginalized populations with safe and lifesaving vaccines.
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