I deliver this statement on behalf of the 53 Member States of the EURO region.
We first of all call for full implementation of the recommendations of the Eighth IHR Emergency Committee meeting regarding the international spread of poliovirus.
We continue to insist that protecting health workers and preventing acts of violence against health facilities remain essential humanitarian responsibilities.
Interrupting wild poliovirus transmission in the last two endemic countries is the top priority for 2016. We welcome the progress made in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and their cross-border collaboration to end with the corridors of active transmission.
We also welcome the strong focus of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan to urgently stop the circulating vaccine derived polio virus cases and to strengthen outbreak response capacity.
The EURO region would welcome an update on the progress of the global coordinated switch from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine. We acknowledge the difficulties posed by a supply shortage of inactivated polio vaccine expected to remain until at least 2018 and urge WHO to assist affected Member States and provide them with clear guidance on risk mitigation strategies.
Moreover, ensuring a legacy for our enormous investment in polio eradication is the most challenging task ahead. The last Executive Board highlighted the need to discuss the future of the assets funded by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, including the non-polio assets. Once again, we reiterate our call to the Secretariat to provide us with possible strategies and solutions to facilitate this undertaking. We also encourage countries to finalize legacy plans under the leadership of national authorities and in collaboration with donors and partners.
Following the Polio Oversight Board’s decision to increase the budget of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative by USD 1.5 billion last September, we request once again the Secretariat to provide us with an updated and disaggregated budget for the period 2016-2019. Finally, we also call on donors and affected countries to provide the necessary funding to finally reach and maintain a polio free-world.