31st meeting of the Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis Eradication (2017)




The 31st RCC meeting reviewed annual updates submitted by the Member States of the Region on the status of the national polio eradication programme. The RCC concluded, based on available evidence, that there was no wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission in the WHO European Region in 2016. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and Ukraine remain at high risk of a sustained polio outbreak following importation due to suboptimal programme performance, including low population immunity. In line with the move towards collecting and collating evidence required for global certification, the RCC has progressively adopted an approach to evaluation of annual update reports based on risk-assessment and evidence of risk mitigation. A more stringent application of the risk-assessment approach has resulted in an increase in perceived risk in a number of Member States that had previously been considered at low or intermediate risk. The RCC expressed concern at the number of countries, particularly those at intermediary risk of polio transmission, where vaccine coverage is in decline, and the quality of poliovirus surveillance has declined. The RCC emphasized the importance that all Member States follow the guidelines previously provided on the composition and membership of national certification committees (NCCs) and avoid potential conflict of interest caused by employees of the polio eradication programme, ministries of health or public health institutes serving as members of the NCC.