68th World Health Assembly Item 15.2: Poliomyelitis

Dr. Seher Musaonbaşıoğlu 26.05.2015

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, we would like to thank the Secretariat for the comprehensive report.

We would like to reiterate our appreciation for the achievement of South-East Asia Region, particularly India of being certified polio-free.

It is also promising that no cases of polio have been reported in Africa for eight months.

Although Syria is declared as a state no longer infected by polio by the IHR Emergency Committee in April, given the current situation in the Middle East, we should be vigilant and continue vaccination campaigns. We should also ensure that the surveillance system is operational and effective in the region.

We should keep in mind that the risk of re-importation of the virus is still high. In this vein, we support the recommendations of the IHR Emergency Committee.

Our efforts aiming to reach all children for vaccination are of utmost importance. In this regard, we hope to overcome the barriers to access in endemic countries. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives in order to reach and vaccinate every child.

There is no doubt that national efforts backed by international community’s supportcan be successful. We are all aware of the challenges endemic countries, particularly Pakistan, are facing.

Indeed, affected countries exerttremendous efforts in polio eradication. Pakistan’s national plan for 2015 has all the right elements with strong focus on missed children. Morever, Pakistan’s determination has been acknowledged at the last meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee in April. We are pleased that there has been no exportation from Pakistan since October 2014 and the number of persistently missed and inaccessible children is declining.

Mr. Chairman,

We would like to reiterate Turkey’s committment to take every precaution against this disease.
Besides our in-kind contribution, Turkey has provided thus far a total amount of 950 thousand Dollars to support the work of WHO.
We are also advocating for political support within the OIC.

Furthermore, we exert every effort to prevent a possible transfer of the virus through our border following the outbreak in Syria. We held several rounds of polio vaccination. The latest round was held on 20-26 April 2015. The next one will be initiated on 29 May-4 June 2015. All the children under age five, residing in the cities bordering Syria, as well as Syrian children under age five, be they residing in the camps or outside the camps are being vaccinated. All the persons entering Turkey from Syria or departing from Turkey to Syria are also being vaccinated.

Mr. Chairman,

We should not caught up with “polio fatigue” and continue our efforts for global eradication of polio.
We believe that our concerted efforts in all regions of WHO will help us in achieving our goals.

Thank you.


Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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