PH Polio Endgame Plan welcomes three new ES sites and introduces BRM
IN PHOTO: The National Polio Laboratory of RITM led a four-day intensive meeting coupled with a series of workshops towards eradicating polio

The National Polio Laboratory (NPL) of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)held its 4th Multistakeholders’ Meeting and Workshop for the Philippines Polio Endgame Plan on August 5-8, 2019 at the Summit Ridge Hotel, Tagaytay City.

We are now in the 6th year of the Polio Eradication Endgame Strategic Plan and we recognize the important role each stakeholder plays in this collaborative effort to achieve a polio-free world,” said RITM OIC-Director IV Dr. Celia C. Carlos as she welcomed almost a hundred participants to the event.

Guest of honor from the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau Dir. Ruby Constantino, World Health Organization, National Certification Committee for Polio, Polio Expert Panel, Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental and Management Bureau, Maynilad, Manila Water, and Laguna Lake Development Authority engaged in a discussion as updates on the four strategic objectives of the Polio Endgame Strategic Plan were presented on the first day.

On the second day, workshops were held specifically to address the first and third strategic objectives of the Polio Endgame Strategic Plan which are poliovirus detection and interruption, and laboratory containment and certification, respectively.

For the workshop on the first strategic objective, Region VII, Region IX, and BARMM signed a memorandum of agreement with NPL naming them as the new sites for the environmental surveillance of poliovirus. These new partners were acquainted with the procedures from specimen collection to response in case of poliovirus detection. 

Currently, there are a total of nine regions and 11 sites for the environmental surveillance of poliovirus in the Philippines. According to RITM-NPL Supervising Science Research Specialist Dr. Lea Necitas G. Apostol, the end goal is to expand environmental surveillance to all regions in the country. 

As for the workshop on the third strategic objective, NPL, through the RITM Biorisk Management Office, introduced the implementation of biorisk management in the clinical and diagnostic facilities for polio.  This need was identified for further strengthening of biocontainment and will ensure that all poliovirus stocks and potentially infectious materials are safely contained and disposed. 

“After this introduction, we will do on-site trainings for the different clinical and diagnostic facilities of polio. This is to guarantee that they are equipped and knowledgeable on the concept biorisk management that will eventually encourage compliance,” said Dr. Apostol.  

The Polio Endgame Strategic Plan is hinged on four strategic pillars: (1) Poliovirus detection and interruption, (2) Immunization systems strengthening and OPV 2 withdrawal (3) Laboratory containment and certification, and (4) Transition planning. This is the comprehensive global strategy that addresses what is needed to deliver a polio-free world in the near future. 

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office