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History of the STOP Program

The global effort to eradicate polio has been the largest public health initiative in history. This initiative was established by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988, with the goal of eradicating polio by the year 2000. In 1998, the STOP Program was created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fill gaps in polio immunization campaign management, implementation and monitoring. The first STOP team had 25 participants, all of whom were CDC staff members. Over time, the STOP Program has modified its recruitment strategy to focus on recruiting international participants with years of valuable experience working in the field of public health in their own countries and abroad. The STOP Program is now truly a global effort, reflecting the international commitment to polio eradication though our current and past STOP participants from around the world.

In the first years of the program, the primary focus of STOP was polio eradication. These early STOP participants worked to strengthen acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance, support polio national immunization days (NIDs), and assist with polio case investigations and follow-up. Though the focus of the STOP Program is still polio eradication, the scope of work for the STOP participants has grown with the size of the program. Now, in our 16th year, we have 240 STOP participants deployed to the field and working in one of three different sectors.

  1. Field Epidemiology - http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/immunization/stop/field.htm
  2. Communications - http://www.cdc.gov/polio/stop/communications.html
  3. Data Management - http://www.cdc.gov/polio/stop/data.html

As we move closer and closer to polio eradication, all STOP participants are expected to work on activities surrounding polio eradication, measles mortality reduction, improving routine immunization services, and supporting Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) activities. In addition, to address the needs of countries as we plan for a post-polio world, STOP now deploys participants as communications specialists, data management experts and measles and rubella consultants.

Throughout this process, CDC has been an integral partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), along with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Rotary International. Together, we have deployed 1840 STOP participants on 3212 assignments in 76 countries (http://www.cdc.gov/polio/stop/where.html) since the Program’s inception in 1998. For more information and updates on the status of polio eradication, please visit the GPEI website (http://www.polioeradication.org/).

Through the legacy of the STOP Program, international bridges have been built and global connections made amongst public health professionals throughout the world. The network of STOP Alumni, as well as past STOP supervisors and colleagues is vast and these connections will survive long after polio is gone.

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  • Page last reviewed: April 28, 2016
  • Page last updated: April 28, 2016
  • Content source: Global Health
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