Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits $100 Million to Eradicate Polio

Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits $100 Million to Eradicate Polio

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $100 million commitment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in support of the initiative's efforts to eradicate polio by 2018.

The commitment will be combined with pledges from other donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to advance a six-year strategy to end polio forever. With support from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rotary International, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GPEI is working to address all aspects of polio eradication, including stopping transmission, strengthening routine immunization, tackling challenges such as insecurity and access, and strengthening the infrastructure needed to reach children with other health services.

The number of new polio cases sunk to its lowest level ever in 2012, with fewer than two hundred and twenty-five cases reported, while the number of countries where polio is endemic fell to three — Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — leading the World Health Assembly to declare the eradication of polio a "programmatic global health emergency" and encouraging many global health organizations to step up their efforts to end the disease.

"We're at a critical juncture in the global effort to end polio," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. "If we're going to achieve a polio-free world, we must act quickly and commit now to providing the resources needed to fund the GPEI plan and to get the job done. [New York City] Mayor Bloomberg's commitment is a key development in helping to ensure that all children are protected from this and other vaccine-preventable diseases. I look forward to continuing to work with him on this and other critical global health initiatives."