Rotary gives $53.5 million to help eradicate polio
EVANSTON, Ill. (25 January 2018) – With 22 confirmed cases in 2017 to date, and just one case in 2018, the world is on the brink of eradicating polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year. Rotary is giving $53.5 million over the next 12 months in grants to support immunization and surveillance activities led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
While significant strides have been made against the disease, polio remains a threat in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones. Despite a historically low case count, as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for continued funding and political commitment to eradication.
Rotary has committed to raising $150 million over the next three years, which will be matched two-to-one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 million for polio eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance.
Rotary started its polio eradication program Polio Plus in 1985, and in 1988 became a partner in the GPEI, along with WHO, Unicef, and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation later became a partner. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 per cent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 22 confirmed cases in 2017 (as of 25 January). Rotary has contributed a total of more than $1.7 billion – including matching funds from the Gates Foundation – and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from polio.
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