WHO seeks $63 million for polio eradication
By Opio Jackson
World Health Organization (WHO) has appealed for more funding to support the polio transition plan in the country. The move includes avoiding weakening the immunization and the surveillance system.
Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative for South Sudan said the estimated cost of the polio transition plan for the period 2018-2022 was $105.9 million of which $42.9 million had already been acquired leaving a gap of about 59% which is an estimate of $63 million).
“We have this opportunity to raise the national immunization coverage, improve and protect the health of millions of people before it gets worse,” Liyosi said.
He said WHO was committed to supporting the Ministry of Health to be able to deliver health services including routine immunization and surveillance of vaccine and preventable diseases in the country.
“Without urgent funding, we cannot implement most of the planned interventions,” Mr. Liyosi said.
Mr. Liyosi made the statement in Juba during a high level Polio Transition Advocacy and Resource Mobilization meeting to prevent the collapse of key immunization health system functions.
The objective of the meeting was to inform the participants on the status of the polio eradication, risks to achievements in the wake of transitioning polio funded assets.
In line with the fourth objective of the Polio Eradication Endgame strategy 2013-2018, the Ministry of Health with support from partners developed the polio transition plan which was endorsed by the Immunization Interagency Coordination Committee (ICC) on 26 of June 2018.
The 2018 – 2020 plan seeks to transition the polio funded assets to support the critical immunization services such as integrated disease surveillance and community mobilization through the Boma Health Initiative.
However, WHO warned that without sustaining the functions from the Polio Programme, the immunization system is in danger of collapse and could lead to public health crisis in the region.
Dr Makur Matur Karion, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health echoed the call for more funding to support polio immunization in the country.
“To maintain the key functions and keep the country free of polio, we need adequate human and financial resources,” Dr. Kariom said.
He appealed to the donors to assist the country in replacing the funding that the country will be missing from the GPEI ramp down so that the country will be able to face the threat of polio from neighboring countries.
The polio legacy planning includes mainstreaming of essential polio functions into ongoing public health programs at the national and international levels, the transfer of lessons learnt to other relevant programs.