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146th WHO EB Agenda Item 16.1: Polio eradication – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (Geneva, 3-8 February 2020)

146th WHO EB Agenda Item 16.1: Polio eradication – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

Thank you Mr. Chair,

We welcome the agenda and reaffirm our commitment to maintain polio-free status in the region as outlined in the Polio Endgame Strategic Plan (2019–2023).

India has completed 9 years of polio free status. However, to mitigate the risk of poliovirus importation and emergence of cVDPV, we are maintaining high population immunity against polio through campaigns and routine immunization. We have a Poliovirus surveillance of global standards for both Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) and environmental surveillance. Other measures that we have put in place are an Emergency Preparedness Response Plan (EPRP), mandatory vaccination of international travelers between India and eight countries, round the clock vaccination at international border and polio virus containment. Under the containment activities, out of the 50 laboratories in the country, the National Institute of Virology, Pune (NIV, Pune) has been identified as the poliovirus essential facility (PEF) to handle/contain poliovirus material as per GAP-III plan.

We introduced the IPV in 2015-16 and switched from tOPV to bOPV in 2016. In view of global shortage of IPV, we are providing fractional dose of IPV under our immunization programme. However, supply scarcity is leading to price hike of IPV and posing additional financial burden and impacting the health initiatives of many countries including India. Three vaccine manufacturers in India have expressed intent to develop IPV with two developing sabin IPV and one the IPV from S19 strain.

India remains committed to achieving global polio eradication. We urge all to help shape the global market of vaccines to control the unprecedented price rise of IPV as well as for the continued support of WHO for polio programme in all the countries.

Thank you.