Rotary makes new $75m funding to end polio globally

Rotary International has made a new funding commitment of $75 million over three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

It made the announcement September 27, 2012 during a high-level side event on polio eradication, convened by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Rotary has over the years contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the GPEI.

Themed “Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World” – the event brought together leaders of the remaining endemic countries, and representatives of donor governments, development agencies, the GPEI partners, and the media to underscore the urgent need to finish the job of global polio eradication.

The wild poliovirus is said to be endemic only in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria but other countries are seen still at risk for re-established transmission of the virus through its “importation” from the endemics.

“Governments need to step up and honor their commitments to polio eradication if we are to achieve our goal of a polio-free world,” said Wilfrid Wilkinson, chair of The Rotary Foundation.

Wilkinson adds “We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world’s children.”

Meanwhile, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), a new donor to the polio eradication effort, has announced a $227 million loan to Pakistan, which will cover the majority of the county’s polio vaccination campaign costs. The IDB also announced a $3 million grant for polio activities in Afghanistan.

By Ekow Quandzie

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