Volunteers Needed for Polio Eradication Effort
Infectious Diseases in Children; 17
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) three-year old STOP (Stop Transmission of Polio) program is looking for volunteers to assist in the effort to eradicate polio throughout South Asia and Africa. Dr. Linda Quick, STOP's chief, says the organization's focus has shifted in an effort to meet the needs of the national programs already in place within the countries by sending volunteers to help in the surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and join in the National Immunization Days (NIDs), including door-to-door visitations, case investigations, and patient follow-up. STOP teams were recently cited in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for their contribution to strengthening the eradication efforts in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Aggressive initiatives in South-East Asia dramatically reduced the number of polio cases in 2000 to 272, down from over 1,000 in 1999. Quick and her deputy chief, Virginia Swezy, note that while most of the success of the programs should be credited to the native staffers who implement the eradication programs themselves, the STOP teams provide medical instruction in how to identify AFP, and they participate in the NIDs and post-NID activities.