by Medindia Content Team on  November 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM General Health News
Gates Foundation, Rotary to Raise $200 Mn to Eradicate Polio
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International will put 200 million dollars into a campaign to eradicate polio, they announced Monday.

Rotary said in a statement that the Gates Foundation would donate 100 million dollars to be used for immunization activities carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Rotary said it would raise another 100 million dollars over three years to match the grant, to also fund ongoing efforts to fight polio.

"The extraordinary dedication of Rotary members has played a critical role in bringing polio to the brink of eradication," said Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and, with his wife, head of the Gates Foundation.

"Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history, and we are committed to helping reach that goal," Gates said in a statement.

Rotary, a global charity organization based in Evanston, Illinois, called the Gates grant the largest the group had ever received in its 102 year history.

The group has been involved in the fight against polio since 1985, and has so far spent 633 million to battle the crippling disease.

Rotary has been a key partner in the GPEI, together with the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF.

WHO recently reported that efforts to eliminate polio are on track in the four countries where the disease remains endemic. Eight-five percent of the world's polio cases are in two countries, India and Nigeria.

"This investment is precisely the catalyst we need as we intensify the push to finish polio," said WHO Director General Margaret Chan.

"We have the technical tools to do it, and we can achieve a polio-free world if the rest of our financial partners step up to meet the challenge," Chan said.

Source: AFP

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