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Philippines: DOH gears up for 2nd round of anti-polio drive in C. Luzon | Philippine News Agency.

[September 10, 2020, 4:21 pm]

ANTI-POLIO DRIVE. The second round of Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) drive in Central Luzon will be held on September 14 to 27, 2020. The campaign aims to stop the transmission of the poliovirus type 2 outbreak by giving doses of Monovalent Oral Poliovirus Type 2 (mOPV2) to all children under five years of age, (0-59 months), regardless of immunization status. (Image by DOH-CLCHD)

Zorayda Tecson writes:

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CLCHD) on Thursday said it is gearing up for the second round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign in the region.

In coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund, the SPKP campaign will be conducted in Central Luzon from Sept. 14-27, with a target of at least 95-percent coverage translated to 1,347,005 children in the region.

The campaign aims to stop the transmission of the poliovirus type 2 outbreak by giving doses of Monovalent Oral Poliovirus Type 2 (mOPV2) to all children under five years of age, (0-59 months), regardless of immunization status.

DOH-Central Luzon regional head Cessar Cassion appealed for the participation of parents/caregivers, health workers, barangay officials, and local government units in the implementation of a quality campaign to successfully end the polio outbreak.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent polio and its transmission. Sustained synchronized efforts of all must be ensured,” Cassion said in a statement.

During the campaign, house-to-house vaccinations will be conducted with strict adherence to minimum health standards to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

For the first round of SPKP, Central Luzon had coverage of 81.66 percent, vaccinating 1,093,317 children.

Cassion said the DOH is working closely with the local government units and stakeholders in preparation for the second round of the campaign, addressing the special challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as those missed children, and those who were deferred and refused vaccination during the Round 1.

Polio is a highly contagious disease transmitted through the fecal-oral route.

It is caused by the poliovirus and may result in life-long paralysis and even death.

Unlike Covid-19, polio has a vaccine that is free, safe, and effective.

“There is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented with complete doses of polio vaccines through routine immunizations,” Cassion said. (PNA)


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Book Review: Poliomyelitis in Brazil: from recognition of the disease to the end of transmission | Cadernos de Saúde Pública

[Open Access] [Epub Aug 31, 2020]

Opening Paragraph:

The book organized by João Batista Risi Junior is a treatise on poliomyelitis in Brazil, encompassing a long period from the first to the last decades of the 20th century. Organized in nine chapters by collaborators from the fields of Epidemiology, Health Surveillance, Clinical Medicine, History of Health Sciences, Biotechnology, and Social Communication, the book features diverse narrative styles; each section draws on vast documentation to record milestones and fundamental issues that helped structure public health in Brazil starting in the 1970s: the National Immunization Program (PNI); biotechnological development and vaccine production; strides in knowledge on polio’s clinical and neurological characteristics; the development of virology techniques implemented in the laboratory network for the identification and genetic typing of the poliovirus; and the development of epidemiological surveillance services, forerunners to the country’s current health surveillance system.


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Clinical and Laboratory Detection of Non‐Polio Enteroviruses among Different Age Groups of Aseptic Meningitis Patients in Alexandria, Egypt | Journal of Medical Virology.

[Pay to View Full Text] [First published: 03 September 2020]

Abstract.

Background.

Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis. Worldwide, Non polio Enteroviruses (NPEV) account for 23 ‐ 60% of all cases of viral meningitis. We aimed to detect NPEV among aseptic meningitis cases using RTPCR and evaluate molecular testing versus clinical and laboratory parameters.

Patients and Methods.

A two‐year prospective study was conducted for all clinically suspected meningitis patients, who underwent lumbar puncture in Alshatby University and Alexandria Fever Hospitals. Clinical manifestations were reviewed, cytological, microbiological and biochemical examinations were done. One‐step RT‐PCR for NPEV was introduced to routine workflow using Pan‐Enterovirus primers.

Results.

Out of 2519 patients, 994 (40%) were found to have positive CSF findings, of which 716 (72%) had positive findings of aseptic meningitis. Ninety‐four samples were randomly selected and divided across 4 age groups: neonates, infants, children and adults. Significant difference was found among adult patients regarding fever, vomiting, headache, signs of meningeal irritation, cranial nerve affection and focal neurological deficits (P≤ 0.05). Seven cases (7.4%) were found to be NPEV positive by RT‐PCR. Positive NPEV PCR samples were shown to be statistically significance among neonates (P≤ 0.05). Statistical significance was found among NPEV group regarding length of hospital stay and duration of IV antibiotic intake while No statistical significance was found with any clinical or laboratory findings.

Conclusion.

RTPCR was reliable to identify NPEV while clinical and laboratory findings were inconclusive. NPEV showed low incidence and slight seasonal variation which rings the bell to investigate other causes of viral meningitis throughout the year.


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Trump Administration Orders U.S. Diplomats to Curtail Contact With WHO | Foreign Policy.

[SEPTEMBER 9, 2020, 4:41 PM]

While Trump burns bridges with the World Health Organization, U.S. officials strain to preserve American influence in an institution that is critical to global health challenges.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks into the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House as a secret service agent wearing a face mask looks on in Washington, D.C., on May 14. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Colum Lynch, Robbie Gramer, and Allison Meakem write:

Despite the White House decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization in the midst of a deadly pandemic, American officials have sought to maintain some U.S. influence at the global health agency, promoting a far-reaching reform initiative and granting U.S. diplomats the authority to continue working on WHO programs that fight polio, HIV, and other infectious diseases.

But that effort has been undercut by a new set of orders from the State Department to sharply curtail diplomatic contact with WHO officials—even though the United States will remain a member of the global health agency until next summer—as well as a U.S. decision to cut funding for the WHO.

The contradictory currents in U.S. policy underscore the challenges facing the Trump administration as it grapples with the fallout of a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans: It wants to punish the WHO for what it claims is an unwillingness to hold China accountable for failing to act swiftly to contain the coronavirus. But it still relies on the U.N. agency to confront a broad range of deadly diseases that could spread across U.S. borders if not properly tackled abroad.

“It seems the United States doesn’t want to completely cut its relationship with the WHO,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Like it or not, the U.S. can’t live without this organization.”

Earlier this month, American allies Germany and France rebuffed a request from U.S. Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir to endorse a U.S.-drafted road map for WHO reform, preferring to develop their own initiative.

The U.S. paper included an array of proposals aimed at enhancing the WHO’s ability to respond rapidly to an emerging pandemic and strengthening its power to investigate outbreaks, as well as calling out countries that fail to fully disclose the emergence of infectious diseases on their soil.

“We need to consider how best to strengthen Member States’ responsibilities in an impartial and objective manner when they are not meeting obligations,” read the confidential U.S. paper, which was obtained by Foreign Policy. Giroir and Andrew Bremberg, President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, shared the draft with members of the G-7 nations and with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the first week of September.

In contrast to those U.S. efforts to maintain a leadership role in the WHO, the State Department has issued a sweeping directive to U.S. government personnel abroad to pare back interactions with the organization’s officials and require them to seek prior approval to participate in WHO-related events and meetings, a full year before the U.S. withdrawal from the body takes effect.

U.S. government personnel can only engage with WHO personnel in “specific, limited circumstances” and must seek prior approval to participate in any WHO events that have a public or media component, according to a cable sent to all diplomatic and consular posts abroad that was obtained exclusively by Foreign Policy.

Still, the cable appears to offer wide latitude for exemptions for activities that promote U.S. national security and economic and commercial interests, including meetings on international standards for tobacco and pharmaceuticals. It also offers exemptions for programs designed to protect global health, including efforts to eradicate polio and Ebola, that for some observers highlights how integral the WHO remains to American health and trade efforts beyond the coronavirus.

Trump announced in May that the United States would withdraw from the WHO, after accusing the organization of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and catering too much to China. The U.S. withdrawal would legally take effect next July, though Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would reverse Trump’s decision if elected in November.

Many public health experts denounced the decision, fearing it will hamstring domestic and international efforts to tackle the pandemic.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Last week, State Department officials said the Trump administration would redirect some $80 million it owes the WHO to other U.N. programs. Alma Golden, a senior official at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said during a Sept. 2 briefing that there were exceptions to the U.S. government funding halt, and she said the United States would cooperate in cases “in which WHO has the unique capabilities that an alternate partner could not replicate at this time.”

“USAID is determined to ensure that our withdrawal from WHO does not affect the level of our overall health assistance to the most vulnerable,” Golden said. Administration officials did not name what alternative partners they were referring to.

Nancy Cox, a virologist and former senior official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a U.S. withdrawal from the WHO could heighten the risk of more deadly diseases spreading to the United States in the long run, even with one-time exemptions for specific programs.

She cited global polio eradication efforts as a prime example. “It has been very, very difficult to get the number of polio cases down to where we currently are. There’s a real fear that if the U.S. doesn’t provide additional personnel, and funding, and technical support, and so on, to complete eradication, there will be a surge in polio cases over the coming years,” she said.

“I also think that people here take these things for granted, that we’ve conquered a number of infectious diseases via global immunization programs,” she added. “But it’s hard to understand what the ripple effects might be because there’s so many aspects of WHO activities that could be compromised without U.S. funding and scientific and technical expertise.”

The United States, meanwhile, has been discussing its reform road map for several months with the health ministries of G-7 countries. It calls for establishing a new early warning system, called an “amber alert,” that would trigger a swift response to an evolving threat, and it seeks to increase the authority of U.N. disease hunters to gain speedier access to outbreak areas.

In a veiled reference to the WHO’s effusive praise of China’s response to the pandemic, the paper urges “increased objectivity and impartiality” at the agency and calls for the creation of a new post, the chief scientist’s office, to improve the scientific quality of WHO’s work.

The paper calls for the establishment of a regular review of member states to ensure they are complying with their obligations to prepare for future pandemics. Ironically, it also encourages states to collaborate in an effort to “expedite the development, approval, manufacture, and distribution of safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.”

But the Trump administration said last week it would not join a WHO-led effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine targeted at the most vulnerable populations globally, including front-line workers, the ill, and the elderly. The United States—which has signed billions of dollars in contracts with pharmaceutical companies seeking to produce a vaccine—maintains it will share any effective vaccine with other countries once it has vaccinated the entire American population.

While Germany and France have expressed support for some of the reform proposals that would strengthen the global health agency, they decided to pursue their own separate reform initiative, highlighting the self-inflicted erosion of U.S. influence.

“They quit the conversation,” said Huang of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The U.S. wanted to play a leadership role and that upset their European counterparts.”

A senior diplomat familiar with the negotiations said Europeans were frustrated by America’s contradictory approach to the WHO and global health threats.

“Everyone understands that global health is a highly politicized issue in U.S. domestic politics, but they have to fish or cut bait and decide if they want to be on the boat or not,” the diplomat said.

America’s “role as leader in coordinating global health related activities is being undermined,” Huang added. “Basically, they have handed that leadership role to the Chinese on a silver platter.”

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Colum Lynch is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @columlynch

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer

Allison Meakem is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @allisonmeakem


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Pakistan: 5-day anti-polio drive from Sept 21 | The Nation.

[September 09, 2020]

KASUR - A five-day anti-polio drive will commence from September 21 across the district with the target to vaccinate 6,44,660 children of ages five and below. A meeting led by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kasur, Manzar Javed was held on Tuesday to review the arrangements. Focal person for polio Ramzan Shahid briefed the meeting that as many as 6,44,660 children would be administrated anti-polio drops with the help of 1,429 teams comprising 3,262 polio-workers. The DC directed concerned officials to launch engaging awareness campaign among the masses and highlight the benefits of polio vaccination. Besides others, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Anam Zaid, CEO Health Dr Mubasher Latif, CEO Education Naheed Wasif, District Population Welfare officer Israr Ahmed, Deputy DHO Dr Mansoor Ashraf, District Coordinator Dr Samra Khurram attended the meeting.


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UNICEF and partners support the subnational polio immunization campaign in rural Damascus | ReliefWeb.

[News and Press Release] [Source: UNICEF] [Posted: 9 Sep 2020] [Originally Published: 9 Sep 2020] [Origin: View original]

Jana, 4, receives her polio vaccine at a UNICEF-supported health centre in Zakya, Rural Damascus. © UNICEF/Syria/2020/Shahan
Jana, 4, receives her polio vaccine at a UNICEF-supported health centre in Zakya, Rural Damascus. © UNICEF/Syria/2020/Shahan

Health services continue despite COVID-19 challenges, supported by UNICEF.

Rural Damascus, Syria, 23 August 2020 – In rural Damascus, UNICEF and partners continue to tirelessly provide children with critical vaccines despite all challenges caused by the COVID19 pandemic.

One example is Zakya town, a home for around 40,000 people, including many displaced families. The passionate local health workers at the town’s health centre have braved years of conflict and never stopped providing children with health care and vaccines.

Last month, a new subnational polio immunization campaign came at a time when the risk of missing out on life-saving vaccinations among children had increased due to the prevailing fear from contracting the coronavirus.

During the five-day subnational polio immunization campaign, UNICEF provided oral polio vaccines to around 23,000 children under five years in 13 fixed centres and through 92 mobile health teams in Rural Damascus, thanks to a generous contribution by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

UNICEF supported the campaign through the provision of vaccines and cold chain equipment, including solar power refrigerators to ensure the safety of vaccines under all circumstances. Prior to the campaign, UNICEF-supported volunteers also went door-to-door informing families of the dates and locations of the campaign, answering their questions about the safety and importance of vaccines, and distributing informative brochures. Volunteers also engaged community leaders, school principals and caregivers in awareness raising sessions to encourage them to advocate for the campaign. Children also took part in fun activities, all designed around polio and the importance of protecting against it.


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