Subregional Committee for Certification (SRCC) of Poliomyelitis Eradication in the Pacific Island Countries and Areas (10th Informal Meeting - 14-15 December 2009) - Meeting Report
A recommendation was made by the Regional Committee for the Certification of Poliomyelitis in the Western Pacific Region in its 15th meeting in December 2008 to reinforce the function of the intercountry Subregional Committee for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication. To meet this recommendation, an informal tenth meeting of the Subregional Committee took place in Nadi, Fiji from 14 to 15 December 2009. The main objectives were to review the latest developments and requirements of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at global, regional and subregional levels, to renew the membership and terms of reference of the Committee and develop a workplan for 2010.At global level, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is at a critical stage. As of 11 November 2009, 1337 cases due to wild poliovirus were reported from 23 countries. This compares with 1473 cases in 16 countries for the same period in 2008. Almost 20% of global cases have been reported from 19 reinfected countries, the highest number since 2003–2005 The number of new individual importations in 2008 and 2009 is the highest recorded. To address the challenges, WHO, jointly with other international leaders, calls for intensified efforts to achieve the global eradication goal. At regional level, the Western Pacific Region has successfully maintained its poliomyelitis-free status since 2000. It has completed Phase 1 wild poliovirus laboratory containment (laboratory surveys and national inventories). However, it is increasingly challenging to sustain the achievements made in circumstances of decreasing external funding support and other public health priorities.Nowadays, more convenient and frequent international population movements pose increasing risks to the achievement of sustaining the poliomyelitis-free status in the Pacific. Although improvements in the acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance performance have been observed, especially in 2009, there are some gaps in assuring timely detection of AFP cases and sufficiently high population immunity. Also, not all Pacific island countries have good systems in place for preparedness and response to eventual wild poliovirus importation. Globally, an increasing number of poliovirus importations was observed in 2008–2009, also posing a threat to Pacific island countries and areas.Based on the situation analysis and requirements for technical assistance in the Pacific, the Subregional Certification Committee discussed and revised its terms of reference. The Committee specifically emphasized its role in advocating to Member States the need for good surveillance performances, universally high routine vaccination coverage and adequate preparedness to respond to potential importation of wild poliovirus. The Committee concluded the meeting with concrete recommendations to countries and to the WHO Secretariat as well as itself. These were in the areas of strengthening routine immunization services, improving awareness and surveillance performance, preparedness in response to importation of wild poliovirus, and wild poliovirus laboratory containment.Finally, a workplan was developed listing all the required activities to be conducted by countries, the WHO Secretariat and the Committee to implement the recommendations made.