Giving Compass' Take:

• Jackie Marchildon and Pia Gralki discuss the success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative: the 99.9% eradication of polio.

• How can this success be replicated for other diseases? What barriers prevent the spread of vaccines and prevention mechanisms? 

• Find out what Nigeria has to teach us about vaccination

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was formed in 1988 after leaders at the World Health Assembly decided to tackle polio. At the time, there were 350,000 cases of polio every year.

Through a public-private partnership, the GPEI is managed by national governments with five key partners: the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Its goal was initially to eradicate the disease by the year 2000, and while they did not meet that target, progress since then has been significant.

Thanks to global health efforts, polio is 99.9% eradicated and remains endemic in only three countries in 2019: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Nigeria has not yet been declared polio-free, but is on track to officially announce its success by 2020, as there have been no cases there since 2016.

“I think it’s everybody bringing their strengths to the table,” Sona Bari, WHO senior communications officer and spokesperson for GPEI, told Global Citizen. “WHO could not do it alone, a government can’t do it alone, a foundation cannot do it alone.”

There are 18 million people walking today because of the GPEI, Bari said. And she attributes this great success to the initiative’s ability to work together and adapt.

When the initiative was first launched, they had a set way of doing things, but Bari said they’ve been able to alter their tactics, based on changes to the virus itself, and the needs of specific countries.

Read the full article about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative by Jackie Marchildon and Pia Gralki at Global Citizen.