Governments and NGOs are postponing immunizations and other infectious disease efforts due to Covid-19, causing a major disruption to services for prevention or treatment of malaria, measles, polio, and tuberculosis, with grave implications for global health.
WHO declared the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30, after initially declining to declare a PHEIC last week.
At a celebratory event at WHO headquarters on World Polio Day, October 24, David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, officially declared wild poliovirus type 3 eradicated. The last type 3 case was seen in Nigeria in 2012. Type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015; its last case was in India in 1999. Wild poliovirus type 1 continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Nigeria marked three years since its last case of wild poliovirus on August 21, an important milestone for the country and the region on the path toward certification of eradication of the disease. Nigeria was the last country in Africa with cases of wild poliovirus; if it remains polio-free in coming months, the entire continent could be declared polio-free next year.
Gavi’s board recently approved a new 2021–2025 strategy “to leave no-one behind with immunization.”
A press release said Gavi’s next five-year phase of work is anchored in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and prioritizes reaching communities with immunization that are currently missed, such as those in urban slums, remote areas, and conflict settings.