National Polio Laboratory strengthens strategies towards eradicating polio

“Together, let us transcend from the idea of ‘one last child’ to ‘one last virus’ to ‘poliovirus no more’,” urged Task Force for the Laboratory Containment of Poliovirus National Coordinator Dr. Lea Necitas G. Apostol to more than one hundred key stakeholders of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan last April 17 to 20, 2018 at Hotel Jen, Pasay City.

Undersecretary of Health for Technical Services and Chair of the National Task Force for the Laboratory Containment of Poliovirus, Usec. Herminigildo Valle, delivered the keynote address for the 3rd Multi-stakeholders’ Meeting for the Philippines’ Polio Endgame Plan.

The four-day intensive meeting tackled the strategies towards polio eradication. These are the (1) detection and interruption of poliovirus transmission; (2) strengthening of immunization systems and cessation of the oral polio vaccine usage; (3) laboratory containment and certification; and, (4) polio legacy planning.

Under the Laboratory Containment strategy, NPL conversed with the Philippine Association of Schools of Medical Technology and Public Health to consider including medical technology laboratories in the online survey.

On the other hand, seven sites have been identified under the Environmental Surveillance (ES) strategy. Partners from Manila Water, Maynilad, Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant, Region III, Region IV-A through the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Region XI, and Region XII signed a memorandum of agreement with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine through NPL. Recommendations on how the implementation of ES in these sites were discussed.

Winning the support of the key stakeholders from the National Certification Committee, Polio Expert Panel, World Health Organization, Rotary International End Polio Now, Department of Health, Task Force for the Laboratory Containment of Polio, and the private organizations – NPL successfully provided an avenue for consultation and engagement to reinforce and fortify their involvement in the program.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) – the largest international public health effort to be undertaken – has decreased the annual incidence of polio by 99% since its launching in 1988. The last wild poliovirus and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus cases in the Philippines was detected in 1993 and in 2001 respectively.

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office [RITM Web Team]