Bill & Melinda Gates Vows $1.2b to End Polio

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to commit $1.2 billion to support efforts to end all forms of polio globally.

Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates made this announcement ahead of a key pledging moment that will be co-hosted by Germany and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Gates said, “The new financial commitment will support the implementation of the GPEI’s Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026, which aims to end wild poliovirus in the last two endemic countries–Pakistan and Afghanistan–and stop outbreaks of new variants of the virus. The foundation has contributed nearly $5 billion to GPEI.

“Polio eradication is within reach. But as far as we have come, the disease remains a threat. Working together, the world can end this disease.

“I want to thank Germany for co-hosting this week’s events and its longstanding support for polio eradication, and I urge other donors to support the eradication strategy to ensure no one is paralyzed by polio again.”

“Germany will co-host the GPEI pledging moment at the World Health Summit, where global partners, donors, and country leaders will make further commitments toward the GPEI Strategy 2022-2026, which requires $4.8 billion in funding. If fully funded, GPEI will reach 370 million children each year with polio vaccines and other essential health services.

GPEI’s efforts include deepening relationships with communities, supporting governments in responding to outbreaks, and helping advance the rollout of a next-generation polio vaccine.

“The fight against polio has done far more than protect children against polio. It has played a key role in strengthening health systems.

“Polio workers have been especially vital in responding to COVID-19 and reaching communities about the importance of vaccination against preventable diseases.”

With its Strategy 2022-2026, the GPEI is working to further integrate polio campaigns with broader health services and essential immunization programs.

Continuing to scale up the use of an innovative new tool–the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), is essential to stopping outbreaks of variant poliovirus more sustainably.

Investments in GPEI also help strengthen national health systems and ensure that countries are better prepared to respond to future health threats. In addition, the strategy continues the GPEI’s commitment to achieving gender equality across all levels of the program.

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