Global leaders pledge US$2.6 billion to eradicate polio


Global leaders have pledged the sum of US$2.6 billion as parts of first phase of funding needed to implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’ strategy 2019-2023.

The pledge was made in Abu Dhabi, at the Reaching Last Mile Forum on the heels of an announcement last month that the world has eradicated two of the three wild poliovirus strains, leaving only wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) still in circulation.

Countries and partners announce commitments to vaccinate 450 million children against polio each year and to overcome barriers to reaching every child.

Nigeria, which is the last country in Africa to have cases of wild polio, has not seen wild polio since 2016 and the entire WHO African region could be certified wild polio-free in 2020.

“From supporting one of the world’s largest health workforces, to reaching every last child with vaccines, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is not only moving us closer to a polio-free world, it’s also building essential health infrastructure to address a range of other health needs. We are grateful for the generous pledges made today and thank governments, donors and partners for standing with us,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Polio Oversight Board.

WHO said the commitments announced come at a critical time for the polio eradication effort because barriers to reaching every child including insecurity, conflict, massive mobile populations, and, in some instances, parental refusal to the vaccine have led to ongoing transmission of the wild poliovirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

To surmount these obstacles and protect 450 million children from polio every year, governments and donors announced significant new financial commitments toward the $3.27 billion needed to support the Polio Endgame Strategy.

In addition to overcoming barriers to reach every child, WHO says the funding will ensure that the resources and infrastructure built by the GPEI can support other health needs today and in the future.

The highest pledge of US$160 million came from the host of the pledging moment, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Other countries include United States, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Germany, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Norway, Australia, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and Liechtenstein.

GPEI partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International among others.

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