IPSF APRO Policy Writing: Polio 2019-20
Policy writing: Polio
The International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) is a global advocacy organisation for pharmacy students and recent graduates which strives to promote public health through education, publications and professional initiatives. The IPSF – Asia Pacific Regional Office (IPSF APRO) represents approximately 55,000 members from 18 countries and has been working closely with its 28 Member Associations to raise awareness on a wide range of health issues among the public.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) strives to vaccinate every child including those in the most remote places to ensure a polio-free world for future generations. 1 Since its inception in the year 1988, polio cases have successfully decreased by 99%; however, to date, there remains three endemic countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) which have yet to interrupt the transmission of polio. 1,2 The poliovirus can rapidly spread from these endemic countries to other parts of the world, putting unimmunized children particularly those aged five and below at high risk in contracting this disease. Failure to eradicate polio may raise new incidences up to 200,000 new cases per year, within 10 years, all over the world. 3
The vaccination efforts against polio can be further strengthened with the inclusion of pharmacists who are at the forefront of patient care. For many years, pharmacists have been supporting immunization efforts by playing the role of educators and advocators, but in recent years, increasing number of countries have allowed pharmacists to administer vaccines. 4,5 This practice can be seen in New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Canada, among others, in which vaccination rates are seen to have risen dramatically as a consequence of the increased service accessibility and convenience. 4,6
In conjunction with World Polio Day 2019, the IPSF APRO Public Health Committee joined the global effort in advocating for immunization to combat against polio by the means of an online campaign. Multiple posters and infographics were shared by IPSF APRO Member Associations and individuals to public audiences in the Asia Pacific region. These posters and infographics included:
• Overview and introduction of polio
• Status of the epidemiology of polio in Western Pacific and South East Asia countries
• Importance of vaccination in the prevention of polio
IPSF APRO’s commitment to raising the awareness about polio under #APROPolioFree slogan reflects the Federation’s emphasis on pharmacists’ vital role in maintaining strong movement against polio. IPSF APRO believes that polio affects every world citizen equally in view that an immunity gap may increase the transmission of this disease with no respect for borders, hence leading to global increase in prevalence, outbreaks and deaths from an otherwise preventable disease.
IPSF APRO strives to strengthen support at all levels by addressing the issue on immunization inequities in the endemic countries and ensuring all children, regardless of their geographic and socioeconomic status, have full access to polio vaccines, services and support. IPSF APRO hopes to collaborate with the United Nations and WHO as a part of the global community to educate the public through online campaign in the form of webinar or live talks via APRO’s official social media channels.
IPSF APRO, therefore, highlights the urgency to continue advocating and improving our approach towards the effort of global eradication of polio via vaccination.
1. GPEI – Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Available from: http://polioeradication.org/
2. WHO. 10 facts on polio eradication, 2018. Available from: https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/polio/en/
3. WHO. Poliomyelitis. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/poliomyelitis
4. Community pharmacies could provide vaccines across the globe, says FIP. The Pharmaceutical Journal. 2016 Sep 9. Available from: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and- analysis/news/community-pharmacies-could-provide-vaccines-across-the-globe-says- fip/20201664.article
5. ASHP. ASHP Guidelines on the Pharmacist’s Role in Immunization Purpose. Available from: www.vaers.org
6. An overview of current pharmacy impact on immunisation: A global report. 2016. Available from: www.fip.org
Policy Writing written by:
IPSF APRO Regional Secretary Subcommittee 2019-20
Ms. Jane Lee Jia Jing
Policy Writing reviewed by:
IPSF APRO Secretary 2019-20
Ms. Wendy Yu-Wun Jian