INTERNATIONAL POLIO EMERGENCY
A Message from District Governor.
We would like to let you know that the World Health Organisation has just declared the situation with the fight against polio an international public health emergency. This reflects the dramatic increase in the number of cases of polio in the first quarter of 2014, compared to Q1 of 2013, particularly in Pakistan (up from 6 to 54 YTD).
We hope and expect that the declaration of the international public health emergency will see the application of additional resources to the vaccination programs in these areas. The situation underscores the importance of Rotary continuing our fundraising efforts and our advocacy. Rotary has 1.2 million voices and it would make a real difference if members in your club were to continue to use their influence in your community and highlight this new and dangerous situation.
The virus has been jumping from country to country — Pakistan to Afghanistan, Syria to Iraq, and Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea — and the WHO has recommended that travellers from these countries should carry an internationally recognised document certifying that they have been vaccinated. Dramatic increases in vaccination programs in several countries, including Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon, have also been recommended. However in the northern provinces of Pakistan some hundreds of thousands of children remain not vaccinated because of the military situations.
While the situation is very volatile, we need to remember that the number of cases in early 2013 (before the outbreak in Somalia) was extraordinarily low. Also, the systems that the GPEI has put in place to respond to emergencies have been extremely impressive. However factors such as the war in Syria and the bans on vaccination in parts of Pakistan make the situation dangerous and unpredictable.
You can find early news stories in the international press at: