Effective action from countries and partners ensures European Region retains polio-free status

Dr Shams Jhabirov, National Immunization Programme Manager in Tajikistan, sits in his office in Dushanbe on a warm day in July reviewing the results from the polio supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) conducted in April and May 2011.  He is preparing to present at the upcoming European Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis Eradication (RCC) meeting in Copenhagen later this summer in August 2011.  As he moves his finger slowly from one line to the next his face becomes pensive as he looks over the top of this glasses and says, "horosho" – " good" in Russian.  Dr Jhabirov is now assured that the high coverage results from the SIAs has closed any remaining gaps in immunity against polio in Tajikistan.  "You know, Tajikistan has had quite a year, but I know we will never let this happen again and no one will die from polio in the future.  That is my promise."

The RCC announced yesterday that Europe will retain its polio-free status after the importation of wild poliovirus type 1 in 2010. At their 25th meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark this week, the RCC noted that wild poliovirus transmission has been interrupted. No new cases have been reported since September 2010 because countries have taken effective action.