Review of the polio elimination status of the Western Pacific Region
9 November 2011 - The 17th meeting of the Regional Commission for the Certification (RCC) of Poliomyelitis Eradication in the Western Pacific Region will take place in Hanoi, Viet Nam from 16-18 November 2011. The main objectives are to review progress reports from all countries and areas and make recommendations on required action for maintaining the Region's polio-free status; to help National Certification Committees and other relevant partners identify mechanisms for closing surveillance and immunization performance gaps and risk mitigation to stay polio-free; to introduce the current post eradication research work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and its future implication for Member States and to advocate with traditional and new key partners to ensure the necessary resource requirements, as part of an interagency coordinating mechanism.
Participants expected at the meeting include chairpersons and representatives of polio National Certification Committees, technical resource persons and representatives of key partner organizations like Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Korea International Cooperation Agency, Rotary International, UNICEF, USAID and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It was a major achievement that the Western Pacific Region had been certified polio-free for 10 years on 29 October 2010 but there is no room for complacency as reminded by the 2011 polio outbreak in Xinjiang, China. This outbreak has been a stark reminder of the vulnerability as long as poliovirus transmission continues in other parts of the world; no matter how long a country has remained polio-free.
The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) works to help Member States remain polio-free by supporting efforts to strengthen surveillance of poliovirus and by assisting with coordinating and enhancing immunization systems. The only way to prevent polio is by immunization, so maintaining high immunization coverage is pivotal to WHO/WPRO’s work on polio.