The European Commission (EC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have recently announced a huge new financial partnership that is focussed on eradicating polio, one of Rotary’s main areas of focus for the past few decades.
A €1.1 billion financing package was announced to go towards polio eradication efforts and strengthening healthcare systems, with €500 million in payments going to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – namely it’s implementing partners, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
The funding is set to cover polio vaccinations for nearly 370 million children annually as well as the delivery of vital health services to children alongside polio campaigns.
The partnership was announced at the “Healthy Hopes: Reasons for Optimism in Science and Global cooperation” event in Brussels, where leaders from across Europe reiterated their commitment to ending polio and encouraged others around the world to join them in making a polio-free world a reality.
Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Thanks to medical innovations, the world eradicated one human disease – smallpox. Today we’re on the verge of ending another – wild poliovirus.
“I am committed to ensuring that no child, anywhere in the world, faces this awful disease. I am also optimistic that we will eradicate polio once and for all and make health innovations more accessible for everyone, particularly those in the poorest countries.”
Since 1985, Rotary’s key humanitarian priority has been to rid the world of polio, with Rotary members contributing more than US$2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight the disease.
Rotary is also a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and, alongside our partners in the Initiative, Rotary has helped reduce the number of wild poliovirus cases by 99.9% since the Initiative started in 1988.