New and Existing Donors Underscore Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to
End Polio Forever
NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - In a display of solidarity, leaders
from around the world today vowed to capitalize on progress achieved
this year and to step up the fight to eradicate polio. Heads of state
from Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan stood alongside donor government
officials and new donors from the public and private sector to outline
what is needed to stamp out this disease forever: long-term commitment
of resources; application of innovative best practices; and continued
leadership and accountability at all levels of government in the
"This decisive moment is a matter of health and justice. Every child
should have the right to start life with equal protection from this
disease. That's why I have made eradicating polio a top priority for my
second term as Secretary-General," said UN Secretary-General Ban
Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that is more than 99 per cent
eliminated from the world. Today, there are the fewest number of polio
cases in the fewest districts in the fewest countries than at any time
For more information about the UN high-level event "Our Commitment to
the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World" please visit: http://www.polioeradication.org
"The evidence is clear: if we all do our part, we can and will end this
disease. But we must act quickly and give ourselves the very best
chance to succeed," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, one of the leading donors to the Global Polio
Eradication Initiative (GPEI). "When we defeat polio, it will motivate
us to aim for other great health and development milestones."
"Failure to eradicate polio is unforgiveable, forever. Failure is not an
option. No single one of us can bring this long, hard drive over the
last hurdle. But together we can," said Dr. Margaret Chan,
Director-General of the World Health Organisation.
"Together we can make history by eradicating polio - thanks mostly to the
heroes in the field who risk their lives, every day, to deliver
vaccines to children in some of the most dangerous parts of the world,"
said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.
"Governments need to step up and honor their commitments to polio
eradication if we are to achieve a polio-free world," said Wilfrid
Wilkinson, Chair of Rotary Foundation Trustees. "We must seize the
advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the
"We have been given the unique opportunity to end polio and provide a
lasting legacy for the world's children," said Dr. Thomas Frieden,
Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Together we must strive to achieve this important global milestone."
The Islamic Development Bank, a new donor to the polio eradication
effort, announced a three-year $227 million financing package to
Pakistan and a $3 million grant for polio eradication activities in
Notes for editors:
The UN High Level event will be live-streamed, 12:30-1:30 EDT, on http://webtv.un.org/.
Photos and video of the event will be available at http://www.rotary.org/mediacenter.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), launched in 1988, is
spearheaded by national governments, the World Health Organization
(WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, and supported by key partners including
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since its launch, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than
99 percent. In 1988, more than 350,000 children were paralyzed each
year in more than 125 endemic countries. In 2012, 145 new cases have
been reported, and only three countries remain endemic: Nigeria,
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
SOURCE: Global Polio Eradication Initiative
For further information:
Contacts: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-206-709-3400; Rotary International: Petina Dixon-Jenkins, email@example.com, +1-847-866-3054; UNICEF: Christian Moen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-212-326-7516 or mobile +1-917-299-1041; US CDC: Alan Janssen, email@example.com, +1-404-639-8517; WHO: Sona Bari, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41-22-791-1476 or mobile +41-79-475-5511