Global partners pledge $1.2 billion annually for polio eradication

Rafat Salami

Global health leaders have pledged US$ 1.2 billion to finance efforts to end polio disease.

The leaders gathered at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta on Monday, to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating polio disease, the disease that causes paralysis in children under the age of 5; that has been eliminated in all but three countries- Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

According to a Unicef bulletin, the major pledges included “US$ 75 million from Canada, US$ 61.4 million from the European Commission, US$ 55 million from Japan, US$ 30 million from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates, US$ 30 million from the Dalio Foundation, US$ 25 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, US$ 15 million from an anonymous donor, US$ 13.4 million from Australia, US$ 11.2 million from Germany, US$ 5 million from easyJet, US$ 5 million from Italy and US$ 4 million from the Republic of Korea.”

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and John Germ, president of Rotary International, also announced an extension of their partnership in front of more than 20,000 Rotarians.

Up to US$ 150 million in funds raised by Rotary members over the next three years will be matched 2:1 by the Gates Foundation, resulting in up to US$ 450 million in the next three years for the GPEI. T

The Gates Foundation pledged a total of US$ 450 million, including this matching agreement

John Germ, President of Rotary International said Rotary’s “continued commitment to raising funds for eradication – coupled with the match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – makes that impact even greater.” 

According to Unicef, the commitment which will protect more than 450 million children from polio each year.

Thirty years ago, polio paralyzed more than 350,000 children each year in more than 125 countries around the world. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of governments, health workers, donors and the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership dedicated to ending the disease, the highly contagious virus has now been eliminated in all but three countries: There have been only five cases to date in 2017.