Eradication of Poliomyelitis in the Region

         The Regional Committee,

         Having considered the report of the Regional Director on the eradication of poliomyelitis in the Region; **

         Acknowledging the achievements of Member States in attaining and maintaining poliomyelitis-free status and maintaining high-quality surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP);

         Recalling that the last reported case of poliomyelitis due to indigenous wild poliovirus had onset on 19 March 1997;

         Acknowledging that an importation of wild poliovirus occurred in the Region in 1999 causing a single case of poliomyelitis, and that the risk of importation from poliomyelitis-endemic areas into the Region remains, indicating the need to safeguard against complacency;

         Noting with satisfaction that, subject to the decision of the Regional Certification Commission, the Region can be declared poliomyelitis–free in 2000;

         Noting further that substantial progress has been made towards containment of all potential sources of polioviruses, including laboratory sources;

         Thanking the international partners who have supported poliomyelitis eradication in the past year, particularly UNICEF, the governments of Australia, Japan, and the United States of America, Rotary International, and Rotary International District 2650 of Japan, and other nongovernmental organizations;

  1. URGES Member States:
    (1) to ensure that the final documentation for certification provided to the Regional Certification Commission is of the highest possible quality;
    (2) to sustain the substantial progress in implementing Phase 1 of laboratory containment of wild polioviruses and potentially infectious materials that is required for regional certification and, in Member States which have completed Phase 1, to begin implementing the activities required for implementation of Phase 2;
    (3) to maintain the highest possible quality of AFP and virological surveillance both in order to rapidly detect and respond to importations of wild poliovirus from outside the Region, and to fulfill the requirements of regional and global certification;
    (4) to achieve and maintain high routine immunization coverage, together with supplementary immunization in situations of high risk, until global certification is achieved;
    (5) to continue to be vigilant against the potential threat of importation from regions which have not achieve poliomyelitis-free status.
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to work closely with countries to ensure that certification-level standards of surveillance are maintained until global certification;
    (2) to work with partner agencies and governments to ensure that external support is available to sustain surveillance and supplementary immunization activities until global certification is achieved and beyond if necessary;
    (3) to continue to report to the Regional Committee on progress of poliomyelitis eradication activities, including laboratory containment of wild poliovirus and potentially infectious materials, until certification of global eradication is achieved;
    (4) to ensure that, upon certification of the Region as poliomyelitis-free, the efforts and sacrifices of the many health workers in the Region who contributed to this achievements are recognized.

** WPR/RC51/5 and WPR/RC51/INF.DOC./4

20 September 2000

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