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Countries Need Vigilance, Informed Media Coverage To Achieve Polio Eradication

In this SciDev.Net editorial, T.V. Padma, regional coordinator for South Asia for the news service, recaps findings from the latest report of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), released last week, and writes, “Polio control in developing countries has received massive international support and funding, including free supplies of vaccines. Yet transmission of the virus remains. Clearly, there are problems other than funds.”

“The GPEI report identifies the following issues as being common to countries experiencing control problems: inadequate political commitment; adverse parental beliefs and attitudes; weak ‘micro-planning’; a lack of skills among local team leaders; geographical and social isolation; and poor problem-solving ability,” she writes. Padma also discusses progress made against polio in India, and the roles and responsibilities of health officials and journalists in communicating information about the disease. She concludes, “Continuous resolve is particularly crucial in the wake of growing concerns about the re-emergence of the virus in regions where it was previously absent, as well as countries that are slipping back on their progress in controlling the disease” (10/28).

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