2 Polio transition planning


Honorable Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

The International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation is the leading voice of pharmacy students and
recent graduates in over 81 different countries worldwide.

IPSF advocates for the inclusion of pharmacists in national immunization efforts and international health
task forces, especially such efforts to achieve the ultimate eradication of polio. The single most effective
measure of polio prevention is the administration of vaccines, which must be our focus, as complete
eradication has the potential to save us US$50 billion globally over the next 20 years.

Pharmacists already serve as immunizers in numerous countries, creating favorable outcomes,
particularly with flu vaccinations. A systematic review published in 2016 revealed an increase in vaccine
coverage when pharmacists played a role as an educator, facilitator, and/or administrator of vaccines.
However, the information we can gather from that reaches deeper - namely, that pharmacists are ready
and able to partake in immunizations efforts.

One major challenge is education. Stigma and distrust against vaccines continues to prevail. It is
essential that we encourage individuals to get vaccinated and educate them on the perils of polio. This is
why World Immunisation Week is so important, and IPSF continues to commit to informing the public on
the importance of vaccines.

The 99% reduction achieved over the last three decades proves the current approach against polio to be
in the right direction, but there is still work to be done. While transmission rates of wild polio are at their
lowest levels ever, we cannot ignore polio’s presence in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Polio will
continue to pose a threat to children everywhere, until it is eradicated completely.

With these prospects, we see no obstacle against the inclusion of pharmacists in immunization efforts.
IPSF strongly encourages member states to utilize pharmacists as immunizers, both nationally and in
global health relief forces combating polio.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27765379
2. https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Item-2b-Overview-Community-Pharmacy-Services-Svarcaite%20.pdf
3. 13 TH Report of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, August 2016
4. Executive Summary of the Investment case of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
5. Provisional Agenda item 7.3, 140 th Executive Board of the W.H.O November, 2016
6. Annual Report of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 2015
7. Global Polio Eradication Initiative Fact Sheet, March 2017
8. Semi-annual Status Report, January to June 2016, of the End Game Strategic Plan 2013-2018