To Home Page of PHI website to PHI's Secure Shopping Cart
PHI's Education
About PHI Education Advocacy Research Networking to How to Donate to Membership Application

Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 1993

Read selected articles from this issue ...

Part I: Becoming an Intelligent Consumer of Physical Therapy Services
Marianne T. Weiss, PT

One Year without Polio in the Region of the Americas

Polio Outbreak, Netherlands

Polio in the US

Accessible Worship

National Library Service

Readers Write ... Myoclonus, Surviving Winter, Research Effort

Medigap Policy Choices

Maynard Accepts New Position


Personal Assistance Services

One Year without Polio in the Region of the Americas

August 23, 1992 marked the first year that the Region of the Americas has been free of wild poliovirus. The last detected case occurred in Junin, Peru on August 23, 1991.

This achievement has been possible thanks to the eradication campaign launched by the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carlyle Guerra de Macedo, in May of 1985. The principal strategies used were the National Vaccination Days with applications of poliomyelitis oral vaccine and the intensified surveillance of reported cases of flaccid paralysis. These efforts succeeded in reducing the number of polio cases caused by wild virus from approximately 1,000 reported cases in 1986 to nine in 1991 (eight in Colombia and one in Peru). Since the virus was isolated from the Peruvian case, no other wild virus has been isolated in the Region (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1, showing chart with confirmed cases of polio in the Region of the Americas, 1986 through 1992

At the inception of the Expanded Program on Immunization in 1978, less than 25% of the children in the Region of the Americas were vaccinated against the principal childhood diseases (polio, measles, diphtherial tetanus, pertussis and tuberculosis). By 1991, the overall coverage extended to over 75% of the population under one year of age.

The task was made possible thanks to the joint backing of various collaborating agencies, at a cost of approximately 542 million dollars (US). The governments from the countries have provided around 430 million and the rest has come from the collaborating agencies that include the Agency for International Development from the Government of the United States (USAID), Rotary International, UNICEF, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Canadian Public Health Agency (CPHA).

In addition to the national vaccination days, mass communication was used extensively to inform the public and mobilize the population. Also, a laboratory network was used for diagnostic support. PAHO has established an impressive surveillance system of acute flaccid paralysis that includes more than 20,000 health units that report cases on a weekly basis.

The challenge now is to maintain the impetus by increasing the vaccination coverage, consolidating the gains made in eradication and achieving control and elimination of other childhood diseases, PAHO has named a Poliomyelitis Eradication International Certification Commission that will verify the interruption of wild poliovirus transmission. It is estimated that the Commission will conclude its work in 1995. In the meantime, high levels of coverage and surveillance should be maintained and three years should pass by without confirmed cases of polio before the Region of the Americas can be certified as free of wild poliovirus. One of those three years has already passed. PAHO will continue the effort and write history!

Source: EPI newsletter, Expanded Program on Immunization in the Americas, Vol. XIV, No. 4, August, 1992.

Editor's Note: The last wild poliovirus detected in the Americas to date was on September 5, 1991, still over a year ago. 

Maynard Accepts New Position

photo of Dr. Frederick Maynard, smilingFrederick M. Maynard, MD, has been appointed clinical director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and medical director of MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation in Cleveland, Ohio. MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation, the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services in northeast Ohio, has long been regarded as the innovative leader in the field of medical rehabilitation.

Dr. Maynard will join the faculty of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and will continue his clinical and research activities on the late effects of polio and on aging with a disability.

Dr. Maynard's involvement with polio and its late effects dates back to the early 1980s. He has lectured extensively to both professional and consumer audiences. His many polio-related publications include several professional journal articles and book chapters describing the physical and psychological challenges facing polio survivors as post-polio sequelae occur, a research report that identifies secondary conditions in polio survivors, a videotape on coping successfully with the late effects of polio, and a manual for establishing health promotion programs designed for polio survivors, titled Stay Well! He also co-edited International Polio Network's Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors.

Dr. Maynard is a fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, an active member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the American Spinal Injury Association. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Gazette International Networking Institute (GINI).

He will assume his new duties in March 1993.

Back to contents of this issue of Post-Polio Health