A delegation from WHO's regional office for South East Asia (SEARO), led by Dr. Quazi Monirul Islam, Director of Family Health and Research, and L. Homero Hernandez, Resource Mobilization Officer for Immunization and Vaccine Development, visited PAHO headquarters this week and met with Deputy Director Jon Andrus and Assistant Director Socorro Gross, along with other PAHO staff, to exchange experiences and coordinate future activities in the area of immunization.
In this photograph from left to right: Mr. Marcelo D'Agostino, KMC's Area Manager, Dr. Socorro Gross, PAHO's Assistant Director, Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO's Deputy Director, Dr. Quazi Monirul Islam, Director of Family Health and Research, L. Homero Hernandez, Resource Mobilization Officer for Immunization and Vaccine Development, and Ms. Hanna Kurtis, PAHO/Immunization. Photo credit: PAHO/WHO David Spitz.
Given the substantial progress in routine immunization, improved surveillance system and maintaining vaccine quality in all member states in SEARO, much of the discussion between the two delegations focused on next year's global vaccination week being coordinated by WHO. To that end, Mr. Hernandez was able to visit Brazil during last week's Vaccination Week of the Americas and he participated in activities targeted to isolated, impoverished communities of the Amazon basin.
SEARO has been making tremendous progress in the fight against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, seven of the 11 SEARO Member States have interrupted transmission of wild polio virus for at least four years, with India being the only endemic country and Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh having recent importations of wild polio virus. Only one wild polio virus confirmed polio case has been reported from India so far this year. India initiated a huge campaign in improving polio vaccination coverage reaching previously unreached population. High vaccination coverage has been maintained in most of the countries.
The delegation from SEARO also shared that significant progress has been made in containing measles in all member states."