U.S. Funding For GPEI Essential For Eradicating Polio, Supporting Health Systems Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, U.S. Senator Writes

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 should not derail polio eradication efforts
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chair of the Senate Committee on commerce, science, and transportation

“…The global war on polio is led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which for years has received funding and technical guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development. This support has contributed to a drop in polio cases by 99% over the past 30 years — from 350,000 reported cases in 1988 to 176 in 2019. … Most notably this year, the polio program has yielded enormous benefits in the global fight against COVID-19. … Shifting GPEI resources was critical in helping many countries respond to the pandemic, but it has come at a cost to polio eradication efforts. … As a result of consistent U.S. investments over the last 30 years, we are closer than ever before to eradicating polio from the face of the earth. … Now is not the time to drop the ball. This year, as in past years, I led the effort with Senator Reed, D-R.I., to secure $237 million in U.S. funding to strengthen polio eradication efforts. Based on the previous year’s appropriations, I am optimistic about a positive outcome in fiscal year 2021. A strong, well-funded GPEI is essential to winning the fight against polio and maintaining strong health systems that benefit people around the world” (10/29).

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