Gates Foundation contributes $1.2 billion to the fight to eradicate polio worldwide
WASHINGTON, DC – July 28, 2016 – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the launch of the world’s largest anti-polio project, in partnership with partner organizations in more than sixty countries. Its aim is to end polio at the end of 2017: the global eradication, or “endgame,” of the disease.
The Gates Foundation is supporting the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to accelerate global polio eradication and reduce transmission from wild poliovirus. The Gates Foundation, UNICEF and WHO will be launching a global campaign to end polio by year-end 2017. The international campaign, in collaboration with GPEI, will use a combination of targeted education, oral polio vaccines, and community support to eradicate polio.
“The fight against polio is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced,” said Robert F. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The eradication of this disease will save millions of lives and reduce long-term disability by more than 20 percent. We are using our enormous resources and expertise, along with our partners and those in the United Nations Security Council, to build a global network of governments, NGOs, and the private sector that will accelerate the eradication of polio and make that goal a reality this year.”
The Gates Foundation will contribute $1.2 billion to this effort. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will lead the funding, and will work with the world’s top anti-polio organizations to accelerate the end-of-2016 start of the campaign. The United States Government and U.S. private sector will also commit to funding polio eradication.
The Gates Foundation has led polio eradication efforts for more than a decade, investing more than $1 billion in programs to eliminate the disease that have saved more than 2 million children from paralysis and averted the death of more 1.5 million more. More than $400 million in new funding will be available to the GPEI and partner organizations to accelerate progress to end the disease