… Fund targets US$450m children yearly
Global leaders, including foremost non state actors, have raised fresh US$ 1.2 billion to rev the onslaught against poliomyelitis in the three remaining nations where the disease is yet to be defeated.
Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio, currently exists in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The newly-raised fund came from pledges by participants at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta, a statement made available by Nigerian Office of United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to Nigeria Health Online on Monday said.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership dedicated to ending polio, will help manage the fund to further fight the highly contagious disease by ensuring prompt and adequate vaccination of children. Only five cases of polio have been recorded from the affected nations this year, the statement from UNICEF stated.
Leading government donors include Canada, $75 million; European Commission, US$ 61.4 million; Japan, US$ 55 million; Australia, US$ 13.4 million; Germany, US$ 11.2 million; Italy, US$ 5 million; and Republic of Korea, US$ 4 million.
Leading non-state actor contributors include: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, US$ 30 million; Dalio Foundation, US$ 30 million; Bloomberg Philanthropies, US$ 25 million; US$ 15 million from an anonymous donor; and EasyJet, US$ 5 million.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. The Gates Foundation pledged a total of US$ 450 million, including this matching agreement, according to the statement.
“Thanks to the incredible efforts of Rotarians, governments, health workers, partners and donors – including those who have gathered at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta – we are closer than ever to making history,” Chris Elias, Global Development President, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chair of the GPEI Polio Oversight Board, said , adding that : “These new commitments will help ensure that we will finish the job.
”President, Rotary International, John Germ also said: “The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. Rotary members have been the driving force behind the fight to end polio since its inception…Their continued commitment to raising funds for eradication – coupled with today’s match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – makes that impact even greater.
“Today’s funding helps address a US$1.5 billion funding need that will help ensure that the virus is eliminated from these remaining countries and prevented from regaining a foothold anywhere else in the world.”
Similarly, Acting Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anne Schuchat, said: “Constant innovation has been key to improving vaccination coverage and reaching more children with the polio vaccine.
“The unrelenting commitment and support of these global leaders will help us do just that—and ultimately end this disease for everyone and forever. CDC remains deeply committed to polio eradication and has contributed US$ 228 billion since the beginning of the initiative.”
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake, also noted that “Today’s funding commitments will enable the program to continue to improve performance and overcome challenges to reach every child, including vaccinating children in conflict areas.
“We are, together, truly on the verge of eradicating polio from the planet — but only if we work relentlessly to reach the children we have not yet reached. We cannot fail to make this last effort. Because if we do not now make history, we will, and should be, judged harshly by history.”