Sailing in uncharted waters: Carefully navigating the Polio endgame

In 1988, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a historic resolution to eradicate polio by the year 2000, resulting in the creation of the largest public–private partnership for health—the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). When GPEI was launched, wild polio virus (WPV) was endemic in 125 countries and resulted annually in the paralysis of more than 350,000 people, mainly children. By 2000, the number of endemic countries had been reduced to 20, with the last WPV type 2 case occurring in 1999. Interruption of transmission of WPV types 1 and 3 proved more difficult, with the last WPV3 case occurring in November 2012; WPV1 cases are still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where a total of 19 were reported in 2016 as of July 12th.

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