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Briefing Note about MHPSS aspects of COVID-19 | Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Published Date
4 March 2020

With inputs from all its member organizations, the IASC MHPSS RG recently finalized a Briefing Note about MHPSS aspects of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

This document summarizes key mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as appropriate MHPSS responses, overarching principles and globally recommended activities. More specifically, it contains useful guidance about how to, during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • help older adults cope with stress,
  • support the needs of people with disabilities,
  • design messages & activities to help children deal with stress,
  • set up MHPSS activities for adults in isolation/quarantine,
  • provide support to response workers, and
  • circulate community MHPSS messages.

It also contains numerous references and information sources. It is available in English, Chinese (traditional + simplified), and Arabic.  


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Message from Post-Polio News Editor.

[15th March 2020 18:15 GMT/UTC]

I have just run a preview of today's "Posts from Post-Polio News RSS Feed" digest and if all goes well, links to the four missing articles from yesterday's digest should appear at the foot of the digest under "More to read:". However, I will also list the those articles below.

The four articles are:

Comparative Molecular Biology Approaches for the Production of Poliovirus Virus-Like Particles Using Pichia pastoris | mSphere.

Pakistan: Over 117,000 children to be administered polio drops | The Nation.

Pakistan: Polio teams to seek travel histories | The Express Tribune.

Pakistan: EOC confirms new polio case in Sindh | The Express Tribune.

The link to this editorial message item is just the ppn home site and can be ignored as I suspect a 'linkless" item might throw another spanner in the works.

Chris Salter


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Pakistan: 13 new polio cases reported in a single day in KP | The News International.

[March 15, 2020] Mushtaq Yusufzai writes:

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday reported 13 new polio cases, the largest the province has ever seen in a day. These cases are mostly called circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDP2) or Type 2 polio.

According to health department officials and Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Peshawar, seven polio cases were reported from Khyber tribal district. They added that one case each was reported from Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Mardan, Nowshera, Bajaur and Lower Dir. Pakistan has this year reported 25 cVDP2 cases, in which Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone had a share of 24.

“The reason of cVDPV2 outbreak is the result of cohort of children without mucosal immunity to type 2 polio virus. The cVDPVs occurs when supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs)/polio rounds are poorly conducted and the population is left susceptible to polio virus whether from vaccine derived or wild polio virus,” opined a senior public health specialist who has served with national and international organisations on health issues. “In other words, they were leaving a cohort continuously immunised in every round and not reaching every child,” he said while requesting anonymity.

He said a number of senior Pakistani public health specialists had been raising genuine issues in the polio programme but, “they are either sidelined or kicked out of the programme. ”“It is a money driven programme and huge salaries and incentives are being taken by the consultants at the top level. Unfortunately, some people in the programme are very influential and answerable to none and they set their agenda ignoring local needs and requirements,” he maintained.

Another senior official said that after years of work in the polio programme, he had realised that eliminating polio was not the priority of those drawing huge salaries in Pakistan. In 2019, Pakistan had reported 22 cases of cVDPV2, including 16 from KP. These are apart from WPV cases in 2020, its 29 in the country and 15 in KP. There are three wild types of poliovirus (WPV) – type 1, type 2, and type 3. These new viruses are called vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV) and can cause polio disease. After wild poliovirus type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015, the world switched from trivalent to bivalent OPV. Officials said that after eradication of type 2 virus or VDPV, the vaccine was stopped in April 2016 in Pakistan. It again surfaced in 2019 and affected 16 children in KP and a total of 22 in Pakistan.

The experts said type 2 does not cause paralysis. They felt the federal government would need to own the polio programme and introduce drastic changes in national and provincial level by bringing it under the provincial governments if it wanted to make Pakistan polio free. The experts said the big rise in polio cases has put a question mark because despite repeated campaigns poliovirus is yet to be eliminated in KP. They said the government would have to introduce the culture of merit and accountability in the programme.

“People with their strong political back up are holding key positions for years and getting thousands of dollars’ salaries. They must be held accountable for their failure in eliminating polio in the country and particularly in KP,” one of the experts argued.


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Africa is one-step away from wild polio eradication verdict | WHO Regional Office for Africa.

Africa is one-step away from wild polio eradication verdict
Africa is one-step away from wild polio eradication verdict.

Abuja, 13 March 2020 – The African region completes a critical step towards wild polio eradication as the independent commission to decide on the African Region’s wild poliovirus-free status has concluded its final field visit to Nigeria today, after conducting critical analysis to verify the documentation presented by the Nigerian Government. 

The Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for wild poliomyelitis eradication carried out similar field visits in all the 47 countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region to verify the absence of wild poliovirus while ensuring that disease surveillance is undergoing according to certification-standard. It has already accepted the documentation of 43 African countries with only Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan remaining.  

For its final field verification visit in Nigeria, the ARCC visited selected health facilities at Central, State, Local Government Authority and Ward levels in the states of Kwara, Kogi in the North Central Zone; Borno and Bauchi in the North East Zone; and Kano and Sokoto in the North West Zone. 

“This verification visit is an opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate to the rest of the world that it is on the verge of ending the chapter of wild poliovirus from its history. The virus has paralysed thousands and killed scores of Nigerians for decades. Today, every Nigerian is very excited about the prospects of this historic achievement,” said Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of Nigeria’s National Public Health Care and Development Agency.

The commission will finalize documentation review of the four countries in June before making its final decision on the certification of wild poliovirus eradication in the African Region.   

“The World Health Organization will continue working with all Member States to ensure that all the commission’s recommendations are implemented,” said Dr Pascal Mkanda, WHO Polio Eradication Programme Coordinator for the African region.

“We are hopeful that the commission will in June certify that the region has eradicated wild poliovirus,” said Dr Mkanda.

No wild poliovirus has been detected anywhere in Africa since 2016. This stands in stark contrast to 1996 when wild poliovirus paralysed more than 75,000 children across every country on the continent.  

The primary requirements for the region’s certification are that no wild poliovirus transmissions are detected for a minimum of three consecutive years in all the region’s countries and that a high-quality certification-standard of acute flaccid paralysis surveillance is in place in all countries for those three years. In addition, countries must maintain high immunization coverage for the oral polio vaccine, have a robust national polio outbreak preparedness and response plan and a functional National Polio Certification Committee.


Note to Editors

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that mainly affects children under five years of age. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.  

The WHO African Regional Director appointed the ARCC for wild polio eradication to serve as the principal advisory body that reviews country-level certification reports submitted to it, and formulates recommendations for regional/country certification. ARCC members are charged with reviewing certification documentation from all 47 countries in the WHO African Region and verifying the absence of wild poliovirus in the presence of certification-standard surveillance. The commission meets biannually to review certification documentation and updates from countries in the region.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Ms Charity Warigon

Tel: +234 810 221 0093
Email: warigonc@who.int

AbdelHalim Abdallah

Polio Communications Officer
Email: habdallah@who.int
Tel: +201123000665 (WhatsApp)


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