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Global Vaccine Summit Participants Pledge Funds For Global Polio Eradication Plan

“Health groups [at the Global Vaccine Summit] said on Thursday they could rid the world of polio by 2018 with a $5.5 billion vaccination and monitoring plan to stop the disease taking hold once more now there are only a handful of cases worldwide,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 4/25). Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced at the summit in Abu Dhabi on Thursday that “his foundation will contribute $1.8 billion to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a third of the total funds needed,” Agence France-Presse writes. “Other participants at the summit also announced their contributions,” including $457 million from Britain, $250 million from Canada, $240 million from Norway, $120 million from Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, $227 million from the Islamic Development Bank, and approximately $130 million from Germany, according to AFP (4/25). “By lunchtime [on Thursday], $4 billion had been committed, the summit heard, enabling one billion children to be vaccinated,” The National writes (Cleland, 4/25).

At the summit, “the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) presented [its] comprehensive six-year plan, the first plan to eradicate all types of polio disease — both wild poliovirus and vaccine-derived cases — simultaneously,” according to an article on the GPEI webpage (4/25). “The plan calls for attacking polio in the last endemic countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — with mass immunization campaigns,” NPR’s “Shots” writes, adding, “It would boost polio surveillance globally and set up systems to respond rapidly in case outbreaks do occur” (Beaubien, 4/26). “The plan addresses the operational challenges of vaccinating children, including in densely populated urban areas, hard-to-reach areas and areas of insecurity,” a WHO press release adds (4/25). Though polio eradication is the focus of the Global Vaccine Summit, the meeting “also aims to protect millions of children from diseases like measles and tetanus through inoculations,” the U.N. News Centre notes (4/25).