High Level Meeting of the Global Polio Partners Group

Özlem KURAL 15.12.2015

-We thank the Co-Chairs for convening this meeting. We believe that our discussions help extensively reach our goals in eliminating polio.

-We support the two remaining endemic countries in their efforts to stop polio transmission in the first half of 2016. We recognize their unique challenges and encourage them to fully implement their National Emergency Action Plans.Indeed, they exerttremendous efforts in polio eradication.

-We congratulate Nigeria for its historic achievement of dropping off the endemic countries lists and all countries in Africa for reaching the one-year polio-free landmark. However, we must strengthen resilience. Therefore, we would like to highlight the importance of enhancing surveillance, continuing routine immunization and ensuring a successful transfer of polio funded assets to add value to broader health systems.

-Although Syria is declared as a state no longer infected by polio by the IHR Emergency Committee in April 2015, 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.

-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 affected countries. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives in order to reach and vaccinate every single child.

-We are pleased with the progress achieved in bringing the world to the brink of eradicating wild polio viruses, but we also recognize the growing importance of risks associated with circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs). Indeed, IHR Emergency Committee agreed on new recommendations last month and extended its public health emergency of international concern status to countries also affected by cVDPVs.

-In this respect, we support the extension of the Temporary Recommendations as advised by the IHR Emergency Committee.

-We would like to reiterate Turkey’s committment to take every precaution against this crippling disease.

Besides our in-kind contribution, Turkey has provided thus far over a million US Dollars to support the work of WHO.

-We are also advocating for political support within the OIC. At the 5th Islamic Conference on Health Ministers, held under the Chairmanship of Turkey in İstanbul last month, we agreed on a resolution supporting the international efforts in eradicating polio.

-In this vein, the OIC countries extended their appreciation for the historic progress made by the African continent, for the sustained financial support provided by the Islamic Development Bank and for the efforts of the Islamic Advisory Group on polio eradication. The OIC member states reaffirmed their full support to the goal of global eradication of polio and stressed the importance of cooperation between OIC, WHO and GPEI.

-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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