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A new plan is underway in the fight to eradicate polio, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced.  The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026: Delivering on a Promise at a virtual event.

GPEI’s strategy includes integrating polio activities with existing, essential health services, applying a gender equality lens, increased advocacy, and innovative new tools. The $5.1 billion plan hopes to eradicate polio by 2026.

“Now is the time to double down and really make sure that we stop transmission and that we’re able to deliver a polio-free world,” said John Vertefeuille, chief of the polio eradication branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the New York Times. 

While polio cases have fallen dramatically since 1988, there are still barriers to help every child get vaccinated against polio, and the Covid-19 pandemic severely limited the polio eradication strategies. Door-to-door vaccination campaigns were paused during the pandemic.  Polio is still active in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The countries pledged to strengthen their relationship with GPEI and help to end polio.

“With this new Strategy, the GPEI has clearly outlined how to overcome the final barriers to securing a polio-free world and improve the health and wellbeing of communities for generations to come,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and member of the Polio Oversight Board. “But to succeed, we urgently need renewed political and financial commitments from governments and donors. Polio eradication is at a pivotal moment. It is important we capitalise on the momentum of the new Strategy and make history together by ending this disease.”

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