Good practices and challenges in addressing poliomyelitis and measles in the European Union.

Authors:
John Kinsman
John Kinsman
University of Amsterdam
Netherlands
Fredrik Elgh
Fredrik Elgh
Umeå University
Pilar Murillo
Pilar Murillo
Umeå University

Eur J Public Health 2018 08;28(4):730-734

Crisis Management and Preparedness in Health Unit, Public Health Directorate, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), European Commission, Luxembourg, Luxembourg.

Background: All European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) Member States have pledged to ensure political commitment towards sustaining the region's poliomyelitis-free status and eliminating measles. However, there remain significant gaps between policy and practice in many countries. This article reports on an assessment conducted for the European Commission that aimed to support improvements in preparedness and response to poliomyelitis and measles in Europe.

Methods: A documentary review was complemented by qualitative interviews with professionals working in International and EU agencies, and in at-risk or recently affected EU/EEA Member States (six each for poliomyelitis and measles). Twenty-six interviews were conducted on poliomyelitis and 24 on measles; the data were subjected to thematic analysis. Preliminary findings were then discussed at a Consensus Workshop with 22 of the interviewees and eight other experts.

Results: Generic or disease-specific plans exist in the participating countries and cross-border communications during outbreaks were generally reported as satisfactory. However, surveillance systems are of uneven quality, and clinical expertise for the two diseases is limited by a lack of experience. Serious breaches of protocol have recently been reported from companies producing poliomyelitis vaccines, and vaccine coverage rates for both diseases were also sub-optimal. A set of suggested good practices to address these and other challenges is presented.

Conclusions: Poliomyelitis and measles should be brought fully onto the policy agendas of all EU/EEA Member States, and adequate resources provided to address them. Each country must abide by the relevant commitments that they have already made.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051453PMC
August 2018
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