Commonwealth Government Leaders Pledge Millions Of Additional Funds To Fight Polio

“Commonwealth government leaders meeting in Australia agreed Saturday to step up efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, despite the Afghanistan war setting back vaccination efforts there and in neighboring Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports (10/29). “Leaders from Britain, Canada, Australia and Nigeria, and” representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “on Saturday pledged tens of millions of dollars in extra funding to wipe out the disease” in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria — the four countries where polio remains endemic, Reuters states (10/29).

“The Australian government announced a commitment of $50 million (AUS) to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The Nigerian government pledged an increase from 2011 of a planned $17 million to an annual contribution of $30 million starting in 2012. The Gates Foundation pledged an additional $40 million to GPEI for the remainder of 2011,” a Gates Foundation press release notes (10/28). According to Canada’s National Post, the country will add $15 million over two years to the $348 million that it has granted to the GPEI since 2000 (Kennedy, 10/29).