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Certification of polio eradication is conducted on a regional basis. Each region can consider certification only when all countries in the area demonstrate the absence of wild poliovirus transmission for at least three consecutive years in the presence of certification standard surveillance.


WHO Western Pacific Region

Achieving certification of global polio eradication: criteria

In 1997, the Global Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (GCC) finalized the criteria for certifying whether the goal of polio eradication is achieved.

1. Achieving certification-standard surveillance

In endemic regions:

  • achieve and sustain certification standard surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) at the national level
  • identify and close any gaps in surveillance performance at the sub-national level in all countries
  • increase the speed of surveillance and virological data analysis to ensure timely emergency response.
In certified polio-free regions:
  • maintain certification-standard surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis
  • ensure highest possible immunity levels against wild poliovirus
  • develop action plans for responding rapidly to importations of wild poliovirus
  • integrate AFP reporting into national surveillance mechanisms to respond to other important diseases.

2. Ensuring access to a WHO-accredited laboratory

  • reduce the time required for intratypic

    differentiation (ITD) results to be available from endemic areas

  • ITD capacity established in all polio reservoir countries
  • sustain the international capacity to process all specimens from AFP cases in WHO-accredited laboratories through global certification and oral polio vaccine (OPV) cessation.

3. Ensuring containment of wild polioviruses and vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs)

  • further dissemination and national implementation of activities outlined in the Global action plan for laboratory containment of wild polioviruses 2003
  • complete laboratory survey and inventory activities in all polio-free countries
  • prepare for implementation of phase II laboratory containment activities prior to global certification
  • initiate phase II containment activities in all countries
  • complete biosafety level-3 (BSL-3)/polio containment in facilities producing IPV from wild poliovirus.

4. Completing the certification process

  • regional certification commissions (RCC) in the remaining three polio-endemic regions to train national certification commissions (NCC)
  • NCCs to collect, review and decide on the national documentation through consultations
  • The GCC to finalize:
- the data requirements for global certification from the three certified polio-free regions

- the role of environmental surveillance as a supplemental strategy

- mechanisms for reviewing and verifying documentation on the containment of laboratory stocks and IPV production.

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