10th Meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the EPI and Polio Eradication in the Western Pacific Region
Place: Manila, Philippines
Date: 3 Apr, 2000 - 4 Apr, 2000
The tenth meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the Expanded Programme on Immunization and Poliomyelitis Eradication in the Western Pacific Region (WPR) was held at the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines from 3 to 4 April 2000. The meeting was attended by 123 participants and observers. These included four members of the Technical Advisory Group, seven members of the Regional Certification Commission (RCC), National Immunization Programme (EPI) managers from eight recently poliomyelitis-endemic and eight non-endemic countries within the Western Pacific Region, chairpersons of national certification committees and the Subregional Certification Committee of the Pacific Island countries and areas, representatives from the national and regional reference laboratories, international organizations, the Regional Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis in the WHO African Region, other partners in poliomyelitis eradication, and a secretariat.The purpose of the meeting was to review the poliomyelitis eradication situation in the Western Pacific Region, to disseminate information on the latest development in poliomyelitis eradication, and to make recommendations on:- compliance by countries with criteria for certification as laid down by the Regional Certification Commission;- maintaining poliomyelitis-free status until global eradication is achieved; and- undertaking activities to contain wild poliovirus and poliovirus infectious materials in laboratories.The Western Pacific Region has been free of indigenous wild poliovirus for over three consecutive years under conditions of high quality surveillance. Since the Region's last case of indigenous poliomyelitis, in Cambodia on 19 March 1997, 18 000 acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases have been reported. Of these 18 000, over 80% had adequate stool samples taken. There have also been additional searches for AFP cases in remote areas. All poliomyelitis laboratories in the regional network have been accredited. In addition, five countries have continued with supplementary immunization in order to protect their populations at greatest risk.The recent importation of wild poliovirus into China resulted in a single poliomyelitis case in October 1999. The case highlights the need for every country to remain vigilant by maintaining the highest quality of surveillance for cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), high routine coverage, and the ability for a rapid response against importation, until global certification has been achieved.The Regional Interagency Coordinating Committee met for the ninth time during the TAG meeting. Representatives of the partner agencies attending congratulated the Region for the achievements to date, and reaffirmed commitment to support the programme until the goal of global poliomyelitis eradication was achieved.