Rotary is giving US$50 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio. The funding will provide surveillance, technical assistance, and operational support for immunisation activities, and will reach up to 38.4 million children with polio immunisations.
The funding comes on the heels of the announcement that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated globally.
WPV3 is just the third human disease-causing pathogen to be eradicated in history, and the announcement means that there is only one remaining strain of wild polio left that continues to affect children.
Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners reached another significant milestone in August, when Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus, thus opening the door for the entire African region to be certified wild polio-free sometime in 2o20.
“The eradication of wild poliovirus type 3 and Nigeria passing three years without a case of wild poliovirus are important benchmarks on the road to the total eradication of polio,” said Dr. Tunji Funsho, Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Chair.
“I want to share my gratitude with the health workers who work relentlessly to ensure that children are vaccinated. We’ve made great progress against the disease, but as long as polio exists in any part of the world, all children remain at risk, and the wild poliovirus continues to paralyze children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We must redouble our efforts and leverage this progress to make sure every last child is protected from polio.”
Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year to be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, amounting to $150 million for polio eradication annually.
Grants announced today, Wednesday, October 30 will support ongoing eradication efforts in Cameroon and other African countries.