Polio outbreak simulation exercise (POSE) conducted in Tajikistan

WHO

Group work during the national POSE in Tajikistan, 14–15 February 2017

A two-day tabletop national polio outbreak simulation exercise (POSE) was conducted in Tajikistan on 14–15 February 2017. The exercise was supported and facilitated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country office and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and conducted under the framework of achieving the global goal of eradicating poliomyelitis. Over 20 participants from the Tajik Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Republican Centre of Immunoprophylaxis and its regional branches, and staff from the State Sanitary Epidemiological Surveillance Service participated in the exercise. The simulation provided the opportunity to review the country’s new national plan for responding to the detection of wild and vaccine-derived polioviruses.

All participants provided positive feedback on the exercise, describing it as very practical and useful. The real-case scenario used in the exercise led to in-depth discussions among representatives of key departments of the ministry. Participants took forward issues raised during the exercise and expressed their confidence in responding to a possible poliovirus event or outbreak.

Background

POSE is designed to help Member States critically review and update their national plans, including use of the International Health Regulations mechanism. The exercise addresses communication, coordination and collaboration at an international and national level and exposes any weaknesses in polio preparedness and response arrangements.

Each exercise proposes a specific scenario, starting with detection of a suspected polio case and progressing into cross-border transmission. Participants are asked to simulate implementation of country preparedness plans aimed at containing the outbreak. The exercise concludes with a post-event scenario some 25 weeks after the last case was reported.