While polio cases have fallen 99.9% since 1988, polio remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and persistent barriers to reaching every child with polio vaccines and the pandemic have contributed to an increase in polio cases.
Last year, 1226 cases of all forms of polio were recorded compared to 138 in 2018.
In 2020, the GPEI paused polio door-to-door campaigns for four months to protect communities from the spread of covid-19 and contributed up to 30,000 programme staff and over $100 million in polio resources to support pandemic response in almost 50 countries.
"We urgently need renewed political and financial commitments from governments and donors. Polio eradication is at a pivotal moment," said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release on Wednesday.
Leaders from the two countries yet to interrupt wild polio transmission—Pakistan and Afghanistan—called for renewed global solidarity and the continued resources necessary to eradicate this vaccine-preventable disease.
They committed to strengthening their partnership with GPEI to improve vaccination campaigns and engagement with communities at high risk of polio.
"We are already hard at work with our GPEI partners to address the final barriers to ending polio in Pakistan, particularly through strengthening vaccination campaigns and our engagement with high-risk communities. Eradication remains a top health priority and Pakistan is committed to fully implementing the new GPEI strategy. We look forward to working with international partners to achieve a polio-free world," Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Health, said.