Global leaders commit US$ 2.6 billion to end polio

Global leaders have committed US$ 2.6 billion in funding toward the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy to end polio.

This was at a pledging moment co-hosted by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) at the World Health Summit in Berlin.

The funding, will among other things support global efforts to overcome the final hurdles to polio eradication, vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next five years and continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.

“No place is safe until polio has been eradicated everywhere. As long as the virus still exists somewhere in the world, it can spread – including in our own country. We now have a realistic chance to eradicate polio completely, and we want to jointly seize that chance,” Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, Svenja Schulze said.

“Germany will remain a strong and committed partner in the global fight against polio. This year, it is providing EUR 35 million for this cause. And next year we plan to further strengthen our efforts and support GPEI with EUR 37 million – pending parliamentary approval. By supporting the GPEI, we are also strengthening national health systems. That leads to healthier societies, far beyond the polio response.”

Wild poliovirus is endemic in just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, after just six cases were recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan.

Additionally, outbreaks of cVDPV, variants of the poliovirus that can emerge in places where not enough people have been immunized, continue to spread across parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, with new outbreaks detected in the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom in recent months.

“The new detections of polio this year in previously polio-free countries are a stark reminder that if we do not deliver our goal of ending polio everywhere, it may resurge globally,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said.

“We are grateful for donors’ new and continued support for eradication, but there is further work to do to fully fund the 2022-2026 Strategy. We must remember the significant challenges we have overcome to get this far against polio, stay the course and finish the job once and for all.”

At a challenging time for countries around the world, governments and partners have stepped forward to demonstrate their collective resolve to eradicate the second human disease ever.

In addition to existing pledges, new commitments to the 2022-2026 Strategy this fall include:

Australia pledged AU$ 43.55 million
France pledged EUR 50 million
Germany pledged EUR 72 million
Japan pledged US$ 11 million
Republic of Korea pledged KRW 4.5 billion
Luxembourg pledged EUR 1.7 million
Malta pledged EUR 30 000
Monaco pledged EUR 450 000
Spain pledged EUR 100 000
Turkey pledged US$ 20 000
United States pledged US$ 114 million
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US$S 1.2 billion
Bloomberg Philanthropies pledged US$ 50 million
Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America pledged US$ 1.8 million
Latter-day Saint Charities pledged US$ 400 000
Rotary International pledged US$ 150 million
UNICEF pledged US$ 5 million

The pledging moment in Berlin marked the first major opportunity to pledge support toward the US$ 4.8 billion needed to fully implement the 2022-2026 Strategy.

If the Strategy is fully funded and eradication achieved, it is estimated that it would result in US$ 33.1 billion in health cost savings this century compared to the price of controlling outbreaks.

Further, continued support for GPEI will enable it to deliver additional health services and immunizations alongside polio vaccines to underserved communities.

“Children deserve to live in a polio-free world, but as we have seen this year with painful clarity, until we reach every community and vaccinate every child, the threat of polio will persist,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

“UNICEF is grateful for the generosity of our donors and the pledges made today, which will help us finish the job of eradicating polio. When we invest in immunization and health systems, we are investing in a safer, healthier future for everyone, everywhere.”


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