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Health Leaders Formally Launch New Strategy For Polio Eradication

Health leaders from around the world gathered on Friday to formally launch a new strategy for eradicating polio, Newsweek’s “The Human Condition” blog reports in a post examining the challenges and successes health advocates face in attempting to wipe the virus out completely (Carmichael, 6/18).

Launched by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Strategic Plan 2010-2012 “builds on major lessons learnt to date, including findings from a major independent evaluation examining the remaining barriers to eradication. It introduces district- and area-specific strategies to target the ever-shrinking remaining reservoirs of poliovirus, exploits the game-changing bivalent oral polio vaccine to increase the impact of immunizations, and tackles health system weaknesses,” according to a WHO press release. The polio initiative is being led by the WHO, Rotary International, UNICEF, CDC and national governments, according to the release (6/17).

Last month the World Health Assembly welcomed the new plan, which hinges on activities at the field level, while expressing deep concern about the $1.3 billion funding shortfall – out of a budget of $2.6 billion – over the next three years,” U.N. News Centre writes. According to the WHO, the budget gap could compromise efforts to fight polio, noting “that activities are already being cut back or postponed due to a lack of funds,” according to the article (6/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.