National Polio Laboratory toughens efforts for the PH Polio Endgame Plan

The National Polio Laboratory (NPL), housed at the RITM Department of Virology, wins the support of local academic institutions, environmental agencies, as well as research and military laboratories in strengthening efforts toward polio eradication in the Philippines.

Key representatives from various institutions pledged their commitment to the Philippine Polio Endgame Plan during the Second Polio Endgame Multi-stakeholder Consultative Meeting and Workshop on March 14-16, 2017 at the B Hotel, Alabang. The program was part of the comprehensive strategic approach to address the laboratory aspect of the Polio Endgame, which includes the (1) establishment of environmental surveillance laboratory, (2) reactivation of the National Task Force for the Laboratory Containment of Poliovirus, (3) distribution of advocacy materials to key stakeholders, and (4) initiation of polio legacy planning.

The Task Force also eyes for the passage of an Executive Order addressing all pillar objectives of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan including detection and interruption of poliovirus (PV) transmission; strengthening of immunization systems and cessation of the use of oral polio vaccine (OPV); laboratory containment and certification; and global polio legacy planning.

In 2016, NPL has established the Environmental Surveillance for Poliovirus and other Viral Pathogens following provision of equipment and laboratory supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO). NPL also conducts regular laboratory confirmation of cases in support to DOH’s AFP Surveillance Program. Currently, the Philippines is updating its national inventory of clinical and diagnostic facilities.

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 Joyce Anne Quinto