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Item 15.2: Poliomyelitis

European regional statement.

Read out by Monaco;

As reflected in the updated report by the WHO Secretariat and SAGE, the global coordinated withdrawal of OPV2, as part of the phased cessation of oral polio vaccines, is a crucial step in the polio endgame strategy. Coordinated withdrawal of OPV2 in April 2016 is on track and all countries should plan accordingly. The success of this endeavor will only be possible through global solidarity and strong determination from all actors. The work on IPV introduction is particularly encouraging, including in the EURO region, with excellent WHO joint work with Gavi globally.

The latest developments are promising, but complex challenges persist.  A polio-free Africa is closer than ever. The outbreaks in the Middle East and Africa appear to have been brought under control and the intense virus transmission in Pakistan is being addressed with a robust low season emergency plan, and high-level political commitment. However, we acknowledge the fragility of the gains made to date and the need for unabated vigilance. The new exportations of wild poliovirus from Afghanistan in late 2014, in the context of cross-border population movements, highlight the continuous risk of international spread.

Enhancing population immunity and surveillance underpins the polio eradication strategy. In this context, we welcome the recent decision to kick-off the first polio and measles vaccination campaign in Liberia and Sierra Leone since the Ebola outbreak, as one of the first steps to restoring health services.

Moreover, the EURO Member States appreciate and further encourage the efforts undertaken by the polio-endemic countries to improve the quality of supplementary immunization activities and increase access to children in conflict-affected areas. Sound political commitment is key, including engagement of all social actors, local and religious leaders.

In 2015, the legacy work must receive higher priority under the leadership of national authorities and in collaboration with donors and partners. The remarkable efforts to defeat polio can help to build stronger national public health systems.

While polio eradication is a global effort, frontline workers really make it happen. We would like to applaud their commitment, despite highly challenging circumstances. The ongoing attacks and threats on polio workers are unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

With so many competing health priorities, the world's patience could yet falter. Maintaining a sense of urgency and focus, and re-doubling efforts, is key to succeed. Thank you, Chairman.

 

Read out by Norway;

I am speaking on behalf of the 53 Member States of the EUROPEAN region. These Member states strongly support the current process and date proposed in the draft resolution for the withdrawal of the type 2 component in the OPV and introduction of IPV by April 2016 as foreseen by the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018.

On this basis, the Member States of the EUROPEAN region oppose the amendment proposed by Indonesia.

 

Read out by Romania;

The EURO Member States support the adoption of the WHA resolution as amended, which reflects the collective renewed commitments towards the eradication of one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases.

In addition, we would like to support the adoption of the draft decision contained in doc. A68/21 add.3, endorsing the continuation  of the management of the public health emergency of international concern that represents the international spread of wild poliovirus through temporary recommendations issued by the Director-General.