World Polio Day is annually observed across the world on 24th October to highlight the importance of the efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio), the infectious disease which commonly affects children aged under 5.
Polio Day also marks the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk,
The theme of World Polio Day 2022 is “ World Polio Day 2022 and Beyond: A healthier future for mothers and children”.
World Polio Day was established by Rotary International(RI) to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk, an American virologist who developed the first successful polio vaccines.
- Jonas Salk led the first team to develop a vaccination against polio and began its testing in 1953.
i.Rotary International and the World Health Organization(WHO) have organised “World Polio Day 2022 and Beyond: A healthier future for mothers and children” a two-day conference from 21st-22nd October 2022.
ii.During the conference, WHO director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and RI President Jennifer Jones discussed the state of polio eradication and its broader relevance to global health.
iii.The conference also addresses the potential for community-based solutions to improve global health, particularly as it relates to maternal-child health.
i.Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus.
ii.The poliovirus spread from person to person and infects a person’s spinal cord and causes paralysis.
- India and 10 other countries across South East Asia region were declared polio-free in 2014.
- Wild polio cases are reported only in 2 countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- The number of polio cases across the globe has been reduced by 99.9% since 1988.
Infection of polio can be prevented through immunization, there are 2 types of vaccines:
- OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) – three doses at 6, 10 & 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
- Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) – Two fractional doses are given at 6 and 14 weeks
Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI):
i.Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United ii.Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
- GPEI’s goal: To eradicate polio worldwide.
- GPEI launched the “GPEI Strategy 2022-2026: Delivering on a Promise” in June 2021 which emphasises cutting outbreak response times; increasing vaccine demand; transforming campaign effectiveness; working systematically through integration; increasing access in inaccessible areas; transitioning towards government ownership; and improving decision-making and accountability.