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Polio Eradication Activities Can Help Improve Routine Immunization Efforts

Naveen Thacker, president-elect of the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA), writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, “Beyond the value of face-to-face advocacy, the polio eradication effort [in India and elsewhere] opens the door for the delivery of all essential vaccines and health services in a number of other ways.” He continues, “For instance, the infrastructure and expertise that India established to keep polio vaccines cold as health workers transport them around the country have enabled the introduction of other vaccines that require a cold chain, including Hepatitis B and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines,” and “new mapping technology is helping health workers reach children with a wide variety of health services.” Thacker adds, “Seizing the unprecedented opportunity to complete polio eradication isn’t just about polio – it’s about building a system and cadre of health workers that will reach all children, including the most vulnerable, with the vaccines they deserve” (6/21).