Gates Foundation Pledges $1.8 Billion for Polio Eradication Plan

Gates Foundation Pledges $1.8 Billion for Polio Eradication Plan

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a commitment of $1.8 billion to help fund a $5.5 billion plan to eradicate all types of polio — both wild and vaccine-derived — by 2018.

Announced by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, earlier this week, the plan was developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders and addresses the operational challenges of vaccinating children, including those in densely populated urban areas and areas where security is an issue. It is estimated that the eradication of polio could deliver net benefits of up to $50 billion by 2035 in the form of reduced treatment costs and productivity gains.

To date, donors have made commitments covering nearly three-quarters of the projected cost of the plan, including pledges totaling $335 million from the Albert L. Ueltschi, Alwaleed Bin Talal, Carlos Slim, Dalio, and Tahir foundations; the Foundation for a Greater Opportunity; Bloomberg Philanthropies; and others. To encourage other donors to join the effort, funding from the Gates Foundation will be released as GPEI secures additional funding that ensures the foundation's contribution does not exceed one-third of the planned budget.

"This plan isn't just a polio eradication plan, it's a global immunization plan with the goal of ending polio while improving efforts to protect all children, including the most vulnerable, with life-saving vaccines," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "Successful implementation of the plan requires a significant but time-limited investment that will deliver a polio-free world and pay dividends for future generations."

"Global Leaders Support New Six-Year Plan to Deliver a Polio-Free World by 2018." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 04/25/2013.