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WHO South-East Asia Region marks eight years since last case of wild poliovirus on Jan 13

WHO South-East Asia Region marks eight years since last case of wild poliovirus on Jan 13

Kolkata, Jan 12 (UNI) On January 13 this year WHO South-East Asia Region marks eight years since the last case of wild poliovirus.

The Region continues to be polio-free due to ongoing efforts by member countries, partners and the people themselves to ensure all children are protected with polio vaccines.

A strict vigil is being maintained against polioviruses.

A quarter of the world population lives in the 11 countries of the Region – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

With this certification on March 27, 2014, 80 per cent of the world’s population now lives in polio-free certified Regions.

The WHO South-East Asia Region has been maintaining its polio-free status for the last 3 years. After the last wild polio case was reported from India on January 13, 2011, the Region is firmly on track for polio-free certification in March 2014.

In order to ensure all the requirements for certification of polio eradication are met by the Member States, a review of the annual updates of respective national documentation including phase-1 laboratory containment reports will be conducted during the 7th meeting of the SEA-RCCPE. This review will take place in the WHO Regional Office in New Delhi, India on March 26-27, 2014.

A formal process for the certification of global polio eradication was set up based on the experience gained during smallpox eradication.

In 1995, the WHO Director-General established the Global Certification Commission for Polio Eradication. The respective Regional Commission came to life in 1997 and national certification committees for polio eradication of the 11 countries in the Region were established by the end of 1998. As no single country can be certified as polio-free; a WHO Region is certified as a whole after all its countries sustain no new transmissions for 3 years.

The SEA-RCCPE comprises a group of senior public health experts from within the Region as well as from other WHO regions. The commission works as an independent body and uses their technical expertise to guide the Member States in preparing documentation for Regional certification of polio eradication. This impartial and transparent verification process leads to certification as polio-free.

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