Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $25 million contribution to global polio eradication efforts.
New cases of polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that can lead to paralysis and death, are being reported in only three countries today: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. The foundation's second major contribution to polio eradication efforts will support the work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a partnership led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the launch of GPEI in 1988, polio cases have been reduced by more than 99 percent, while fewer children have been left paralyzed by the disease in 2016 than in any previous year on record.
The contribution from Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of three major new commitments to the initiative, following a pledge of $15 million from an anonymous donor and a pledge of $30 million from Ray Dalio, chair and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates, and the Dalio Foundation. Dalio and his foundation committed $50 million to the initiative in 2013 — the same year that Bloomberg gave $100 million to support the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, a comprehensive strategy for ending polio that has been backed by an additional $5.7 billion from international donors.
"Eradicating polio will be one of the greatest public health achievements in history, and while we are getting closer, major threats still loom," said former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "The recent news of new polio cases in Nigeria has only strengthened our resolve to put an end to this terrible and preventable disease for all people, everywhere."