Neighbouring countries in two WHO regions collaborate in polio outbreak simulation exercise


Participants were awarded a POSE certificate of completion

Any case of poliomyelitis (polio) detected anywhere in the world in the current, final stages of global polio eradication is considered an outbreak requiring an immediate and international response. On 17-20 November 2015 WHO organized the fourth in a series of international exercises to prepare for such an event, this time involving countries in the WHO European and Western Pacific regions located close to the endemic countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Surveillance, immunization and communications professionals as well as IHR experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation (WHO European Region), China and Mongolia (WHO Western Pacific Region) met in Almaty, Kazakhstan to identify and practice the activities and communications required in the event of cross-border spread of a poliovirus. 

Polio outbreak simulation exercise

A polio outbreak simulation exercise (POSE) is a tabletop exercise designed to help Member States critically review and update their national plans for responding to the detection of imported wild polioviruses (WPV) and vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV). The response plan includes the use of the International Health Regulations (IHR) mechanism. The exercise addresses communication, coordination and collaboration at an international and national level and exposes any weaknesses in polio preparedness and response arrangements.

Previous international exercises were conducted in Romania (October 2015), Ukraine (2013) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011), and a national exercise was organized by the United Kingdom (2013).