Rotary pledges $96.5 million in grants to eradicate polio
Nigeria has been apportioned $16.1 million of the grants, while Afghanistan will receive $22.9 million.
Rotary, a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, has announced nearly $100 million in grants to support efforts to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease. The announcement, which was made on Wednesday, comes as Nigeria marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus. The last reported cases were back in 2016.
Rotary – which has contributed more than $1.8 billion towards the fight against polio, including matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – has committed to raise $50 million a year over a three-year period for polio eradication activities. This fund will be matched two-to-one by the Gates Foundation, which amounts to $450 million.
According to the global network, 10 cases have been reported in Afghanistan and three cases in Pakistan this year. It said, as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, hence the need for ongoing funding and political commitment towards eradication.
Nigeria has been apportioned $16.1 million of the grants, while Afghanistan will receive $22.9 million, and Pakistan $21.7 million. Further funding will be used to support efforts to keep 12 vulnerable African countries polio-free. The countries are Cameroon ($98,600); Central African Republic ($394,400); Chad ($1.71 million); DR Congo ($10.4 million); Guinea ($527,300); Madagascar ($690,000); Mali ($923,200); Niger ($85,300); Sierra Leone ($245,300); Somalia ($776,200); South Sudan ($3.5 million); and Sudan ($2.6 million).
According to the Chairman of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee, Dr. Tunji Funsho, Nigeria has prevented many cases of wild poliovirus, thanks to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its partners established, particularly in Borno.
“We must remain vigilant about maintaining political and financial support to ensure strengthened immunization practices as we double our efforts toward ending polio in Nigeria and around the globe,” Funsho said.
Aziz Memon, Chairman of Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee said, “Nigeria’s progress proves that halting the spread of wild poliovirus is possible.”
Rotary also stated that Africa will receive $5.8 million in funding for surveillance activities and $467,800 for technical assistance. An additional funding of about $96,300 will go to Southeast Asia; Bangladesh will receive $504,200; Indonesia, $157,800; Myanmar, $197,200; and Nepal will receive $160,500.
The remainder of the funding will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) for research activities.
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