Global Health Community Pledges $630 Million To Fight Polio

by VR Sreeraman on  January 23, 2009 at 10:38 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
The Gates Foundation, Rotary International, Germany and Great Britain announced Wednesday they have committed more than 630 million dollars for the fight against polio.
 Global Health Community Pledges $630 Million To Fight Polio
Global Health Community Pledges $630 Million To Fight Polio

"I am urging everyone to redouble their commitment to see eradication through to the end," Bill Gates told reporters in a conference call.

"Children and other ones will benefit when we will succeed on this but every delay, of course, increases the cost maintaining these intense campaigns," he said.

The donors urged others to pledge more funds and support a push to eradicate the disease, which still afflicts children in parts of Africa and Asia.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it was awarding 255 million dollar challenge grant to Rotary, which the group would match with 100 million dollars to be raised by its members over the next three years, the two groups said in a joint statement.

Britain is giving 150 million dollars (100 million pounds), and Germany is giving 130 million dollars, contributions that will go over the next five years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

"Complete elimination of the polio virus is difficult and will continue to be difficult for a number of years," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, as he praised the "phenomenal commitment" already made by Rotarians, health professionals and others in helping stamp out polio.

"We are on the brink of eradicating one of the most feared diseases in the world" with help from the Gates Foundation, said Rotary Foundation Chair Jonathan Majiyagbe.

The shared commitment from the Rotary and the Gates Foundation "should encourage governments and non-governmental organizations to ensure that resources and the will of the world are available to end polio once and for all."

The virus responsible for polio has been eliminated around the world except for Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Source: AFP

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