South Korean Foundation joins the Initiative
New donor provides US$ 1 million for surveillance
The Korean Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), a specialized organization under the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, has officially joined the fight against polio. In its first grant to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Foundation has provided US$1 million towards surveillance activities in Africa, specifically in Nigeria. This grant was made possible by the Community Chest of Korea.
Established in 2006 to promote international cooperation, KOFIH plays a key role in providing development assistance for health within Korea, by supporting projects for a disease-free world through focusing on child health and health systems strengthening.
Surveillance for cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) is the core strategy employed by the GPEI to detect the transmission of wild polio viruses and vaccine-derived polio viruses, guide the supplementary immunization activities, and facilitate the eventual certification of wild poliovirus eradication. As eradication efforts continue to be implemented within the context of the ‘emergency’ in the remaining infected areas, it is critical to protect the gains achieved elsewhere, in particular in areas at high risk for re-infection. A key strategy is to ensure strong surveillance for AFP in order to rapidly detect an eventual importation or re-emergence of polio in polio-free areas. Rapid detection enables a rapid response, and hence the consequences of a re-infection can be minimized.
During the World Health Assembly, Dr Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General, met with the President of KOFIH, Lee Soo-ku, to thank the Foundation for joining the Initiative and providing critical financial support for an area of work that “lets the world know whether we are on track or not”.
(c) WHO/A. Balachandran