Development and Consideration of Global Policies for Managing the Future Risks of Poliovirus Outbreaks: Insights and Lessons Learned through Modeling
by Kimberly M. Thompson, Radboud J. Duintjer Tebbens, Mark A. Pallansch, Olen M. Kew, Roland W. Sutter, R. Bruce Aylward, Margaret Watkins, Howard Gary, James P. Alexander, Linda Venczel, Denise Johnson, Victor M. Cáceres, Nalinee Sangrujee, Hamid Jafari, Stephen L. Cochi, Risk Analysis 2006;26(6):1571-1580


The success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative promises to bring large benefits, including sustained improvements in quality of life (i.e., cases of paralytic disease and deaths avoided) and costs saved from cessation of vaccination. Obtaining and maintaining these benefits requires that policymakers manage the transition from the current massive use of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) to a world without OPV and free of the risks of potential future reintroductions of live polioviruses. This article describes the analytical journey that began in 2001 with a retrospective case study on polio risk management and led to development of dynamic integrated risk, economic, and decision analysis tools to inform global policies for managing the risks of polio. This analytical journey has provided several key insights and lessons learned that will be useful to future analysts involved in similar complex decision-making processes.

Answers to frequently asked questions

What are the study’s main findings?
What are the study’s main recommendations?
Background on polio

What are the study’s main findings?

  • Risk analysts can play a key role in policy decisions by providing structure that promotes shared understanding of the issues and key uncertainties.
  • As part of the analytical journey of developing the decision analytic model for post-eradication polio risk management policies and communicating its results, the authors identified 5 main requirements that contributed to the relative success of the collaboration to date:
    1. establish a shared vision to guide collaboration,
    2. survey, understand, and establish a close network with the experts and the larger community of stakeholders,
    3. develop effective communication and built-in capacity to adapt and respond to changes in the program or system,
    4. stay organized, focused on quality, and flexible, and
    5. keep learning and asking good questions.
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What are the study’s main recommendations?
  • Analysts should strive to maintain living models that will support policies as the process and science evolve.
  • All collaborators need to appreciate that the process of developing an analytical model to support decisions is at least as valuable as the final model.
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