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Donations Made, Agreements Signed To Fight Polio In Advance Of Global Vaccine Summit

Hundreds of international health experts and leaders from the public and private sectors are gathered in Abu Dhabi Wednesday for the beginning of the first Global Vaccine Summit, which “is expected to place special emphasis on polio eradication,” Gulf News reports (Zaman, 4/23). Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “will join with other leaders this week to argue that the crippling disease can be eradicated by 2018, thanks to a new strategy and unprecedented political support in the handful of countries where polio persists,” the Seattle Times notes, adding, “A new estimate puts the total price tag for the six-year push at $5.5 billion, about half of which still must be raised. … [O]ne of the main goals of [the summit] will be on increased funding from Muslim nations in addition to traditional, Western donors” (Doughton, 4/23).

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who is hosting the summit, on Wednesday “pledged a donation of Dh440 million [$119.8 million] to support global efforts to eradicate polio by 2018, ahead of the Global Vaccine Summit,” The National reports. “The donation will be targeted at Pakistan and Afghanistan in an effort to eradicate the preventable infectious disease,” the newspaper notes (4/24). In addition, the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [on Monday] signed a co-operation agreement with Qatar Charity (QC) targeting the eradication of polio in Pakistan in an effort to attain a polio-free world,” the Gulf Times notes. “According to the agreement QC will start a fundraising campaign to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) new, comprehensive six-year plan to achieve polio eradication by 2018. … In turn, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would contribute a similar amount of the funds raised by QC for the same cause,” the newspaper writes (Adly, 4/23).