Global leaders pledge $2.6b to eradicate polio - GulfToday

Global leaders pledge $2.6b to eradicate polio


Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, Bill Gates and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal pose for a photograph during the Reaching the Last Mile Forum on Tuesday at Louvre Abu Dhabi. WAM

Global leaders convened at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi to affirm their commitment to eradicate polio and pledge $2.6 billion as part of the first phase of the funding needed to implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, recognised the winners of the 2019 REACH Awards at a ceremony held during the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi. Established by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the biennial REACH Award (Recognising Excellence around Champions of Health) acknowledge those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment in the field of disease elimination.

Awards were presented on stage by Bill Gates, Co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed also attended part of the works of Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed said, “For one billion people around the world the main source of care are frontline health workers, who are driven to help others despite facing sometimes insurmountable obstacles. Today we recognise these individuals for the perseverance, effort and innovation that is helping to ensure every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, dignified life. Their work lights the path for all of humanity.”

“From supporting one of the world’s largest health workforces, to reaching every last child with vaccines, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is not only moving us closer to a polio-free world, it’s also building essential health infrastructure to address a range of other health needs,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Polio Oversight Board.

“We are grateful for the generous pledges made today and thank governments, donors and partners for standing with us. In particular, I would like to thank Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed for hosting the GPEI pledging moment and for his long-term support for polio eradication.”

This pledging event comes on the heels of a major announcement last month that the world has eradicated two of the three wild poliovirus strains, leaving only wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) still in circulation. Additionally, Nigeria — the last country in Africa to have cases of wild polio — has not seen wild polio since 2016 and the entire WHO African region could be certified wild polio-free in 2020. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of health workers, governments, donors and partners, wild polio only circulates in two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pledges are from a diverse array of donors, including: $160 million from the host of the pledging moment Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed; countries, including $215.92 million from the United States, $160 million from the Pakistan, $105.05 million from Germany, $84.17 million from the Federal Government of Nigeria, $10.83 million from Norway, $10.29 million from Australia, $7.4 million from Japan, $2.22 million from Luxembourg, $1.34 million from New Zealand, $116,000 from Spain, and $10,000 from Liechtenstein; GPEI partners, including $1.08 billion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $150 million from Rotary International; philanthropic organizations, including $50 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, $25 million from Dalio Philanthropies, $15 million from the Tahir Foundation, $6.4 million from the United Nations Foundation, $2 million from Alwaleed Philanthropies, $1 million from the Charina Endowment Fund, and $1 million from Ningxia Yanbao Charity Foundation; and the private sector, including $1 million from Ahmed Al Abdulla Group, $1 million from Al Ansari Exchange, and $340,000 from Kasta Technologies. Earlier this month, the United Kingdom announced it would contribute up to $514.8 million to the GPEI.

“We are proud to host the GPEI pledging moment in Abu Dhabi and thank all the attendees for their continued commitment to the eradication of polio,” said Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation.


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