World Polio Day 2019

October 24th is World Polio Day

October 24th is World Polio Day

Message from Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health
Dr. Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director Center for Global Health at CDC

“A world where no child lives in fear of paralysis from poliovirus”

World Polio Day is October 24 and arrives at a critical moment for the polio eradication program. In 2019, the program has seen both important milestones and has faced critical challenges.

In 2019, we will celebrate a couple of incredible milestones: the 25th anniversary of the polio-free status of the Region of the Americas and the Global Certification Commission’s certification of the eradication of type 3 wild poliovirus (WPV3). The announcement of the eradication of WPV3 will signify an important step toward a polio-free world with only one type of wild poliovirus (WPV type 1) still in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Despite this tremendous progress, the final mile to eradication is an uphill road and will not be easy. The global polio program is facing multiple, ongoing, serious challenges with the increase in the number of wild poliovirus cases and the continued spread of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks in countries around the world. In 2018, we saw an increase in wild polio cases with 33 reported cases in two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan. As of October 24, 2019, a total of 95 cases of wild polio have been reported. The two-remaining polio-endemic countries must reach all children with polio vaccine to achieve zero wild poliovirus cases, and ultimately for the world to achieve polio eradication. This will require increased commitments from governments, local communities, donor partners and multilateral organizations. Furthermore, to address the ongoing circulating vaccine-derived polio viruses, all countries must work to strengthen their immunization programs to close any gaps and ensure that all children are protected against polio – the world depends on it!

CDC, along with our Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, is working closely with leadership and partners in the two endemic countries and countries experiencing cVDPV outbreaks to urgently implement new and proven strategies for strengthening immunization and surveillance. We will overcome the final hurdles to eradication. The global polio program is working relentlessly together so that we can deliver a world where no child lives in fear of paralysis from poliovirus.

This year we highlight an overarching theme, Stories of Progress: Past and present for World Polio Day. This theme was selected to acknowledge the progress made to date in eradication efforts, the polio program’s ability to make the necessary strategic changes needed to continue along the path to eradication, and to recognize the efforts of the people, from front line to global, who have made this program possible.

CDC in Action

CDC experts are diligently working with partners to eradicate polio around the world. During World Polio Day, we highlight some examples of the bold steps CDC is taking to eradicate polio and celebrating the 30th year anniversary of GPEI:

Blog Image

We can finish the job of Polio Eradication however; it will not be easy.

Feature Story
african man, woman, and child

Global Certification of Eradication of Indigenous Wild Poliovirus Type 3

Bold Steps To End Polio

Bold Steps to End Polio

Page last reviewed: October 24, 2019
Content source: Global Health