World Health Summit

Why in News?

  • Recently, Global leaders pledged USD 2.5 billion for polio eradication at the World Health Summit in Berlin.

About World Health Summit-

  • The World Health Summit is the unique international strategic forum for global health.
  • The summit held annually in Berlin, it brings together stakeholders from science, politics, the private sector, and civil society from around the world to set the agenda for a healthier future by encouraging innovative solutions for better health and well-being for all.
  • The World Health Summit was founded in 2009. It is traditionally held under the patronage of the German Chancellor, the French President, the President of the European Commission, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Goals-
  • Improve health globally.
  • Find solutions to health challenges, guided by science.
  • Bring together stakeholders from all sectors and all regions of the world.
  • Facilitate open dialogue.
  • Reinforce international co-operations.
  • Set health agendas.
  • Foster the recognition of global health as a major political issue.
  • Encourage the global health debate in the spirit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals- SDG 17 “Partnership for the Goals” Bring together stakeholders from all sectors.
  • Pledging-  
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.2 billion to the largest international public health initiative, Global Polio Eradication Initiative  (GPEI). 
  • Humanitarian organization Rotary International pledged $150 million, 
  • The United States pledged 114 million, 
  • Germany over $70 million and France over $49 million.
  • Funding will help- The funding will help global efforts to overcome the final barriers to polio eradication, 
  • Assist vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next 05 years and 
  • Continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.
  • It would also be able to provide additional health services and immunizations together with polio vaccines to underserved communities.
  • Full funding- The initiative required $4.8 billion to implement its 2022-2026 strategy fully. If completely funded, the strategy can save up to $33.1 billion in health cost savings this century compared to price of controlling outbreaks.
  • Declaration-
  • A declaration approving the 2022-2026 strategy was also published by a group of over 3,000 influential scientists, physicians, and public health experts from around the world. 
  • It called on donors to remain committed to eradication and ensure GPEI is fully funded.
  • The group points to new tactics involved in the programme’s strategy, such as the continued roll-out of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), that make them confident in GPEI’s ability to end polio.
  • Around Five hundred million doses of nOPV2 have already been administered across 23 countries and field data continued to show its promise as a tool to more sustainably prevent outbreaks of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV).

About polio-

  • The neurological system is harmed by the debilitating and potentially fatal viral infection called as polio.
  • There are 03 separate wild poliovirus strains that are each unique and immunologically diverse-
  • Type 1 wild poliovirus (WPV1).
  • Type 2 wild poliovirus (WPV2).
  • Type 3 wild poliovirus (WPV3).
  • All three strains show the same symptoms, which include irreversible paralysis or even death. These three strains are distinct viruses that must each be eliminated separately due to genetic and virological variations.
  • Spread- The virus is mainly spread from person to person by the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by shared vehicles (for instance, through contaminated water or food).
  • Children under the age of five are primarily affected. The virus grows in the colon and then spreads to the nervous system, where it can paralyze a person.
  • Most persons with polio experience no symptoms at all. Some patients only experience minor symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, nausea, arm, and leg discomfort, etc.
  • Polio infection can occasionally result in a lifelong loss of muscular function (paralysis).
  • If the respiratory muscles are paralyzed or the brain becomes infected, polio can be lethal.
  • Treatment and Prevention- Even though there is no treatment for it, vaccinations can help prevent it.
  • Vaccines-
  • Oral polio vaccine (OPV)- This vaccine is delivered orally as a birth dose for institutional deliveries, followed by 03 rimary doses at six, ten, and fourteen weeks and one booster dose at sixteen to twenty-four months of age.
  • Under the Universal Immunization Program, the injectable polio vaccine (IPV) is administered as an additional dosage along with the third dose of DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) (UIP).
  • Polio Virus and variants- Polio is endemic in just two countries- Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
  • Though, after just six cases were registered in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan.

Polio cases in India- India was certified as polio-free in January 2014, after 03 years of zero cases.

  • The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was reported in 2011.
  • In 2012, WHO removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission.
  • India introduced the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.
  • To further stop the virus from coming to India, the government has since 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) compulsory for those traveling between India and polio-affected countries, like Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

Initiatives taken to end the polio virus-

  • International- The Global Polio Eradication Initiative- The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), national governments, and WHO started it in 1988. Presently, polio has been officially eradicated in 80% of the world’s population.
  • Through the systemic injection of vitamin A during polio vaccine campaigns, approx. 1.5 million childhood fatalities have been avoided.
  • World Polio Day is celebrated annually on October 24 to promote nations to continue their vigilance in the fight against the disease.
  • Pulse Polio Programme in India- The goal was to completely cover the population with the oral polio vaccine.
  • Mission Intensification Indradhanush 2.0 was a national immunization campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the Pulse polio program (2019-20).
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)- It was launched in 1985 as the “Expanded Programme of Immunization” (EPI). The Program’s targets are as follows-
  • The rapid expansion of vaccination coverage.
  • Improving the standard of services.
  • Set up a trustworthy cold chain system up to the level of the medical facility.
  • Set up a district-based performance monitoring mechanism.
  • Attain vaccine production self-sufficiency.

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