Rotary International has announced grants totaling $53.5 million in support of polio eradication efforts around the globe.
According to Rotary, there were only twenty-two confirmed cases of polio in 2017, and just one case to date in 2018. With an eye to building on that success, the organization awarded nearly half the grants in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's efforts in two of the three countries where the disease remains endemic: Afghanistan ($12.03 million) and Pakistan ($19.31 million). The funding also will support eradication efforts in ten vulnerable countries: Cameroon ($1.61 million), the Central African Republic ($428,000), Chad ($2.33 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($6.48 million), Ethiopia ($1.82 million), Iraq ($2 million), Niger ($1.71 million), Somalia ($3.29 million), South Sudan ($835,300), and Syria ($428,000). In addition, a grant of $731,338 will fund research conducted by the World Health Organization, while a grant of $518,000 will provide technical assistance for eradication efforts in western and central Africa.
Rotary has committed to raising $150 million over the next three years to completely eradicate polio — funds that will be matched on a two-to-one basis by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 million for eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance.