Global Leaders Commit $2.6bn To End Polio - UPLOADMOON

Global leaders commit $2.6bn to end polio

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Global leaders on Tuesday confirmed $ 2.6 billion in funding toward the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s 2022-2026 Strategy to end polio at the World Health Summit in Berlin.

This was disclosed in a press statement by the World Health Organisation and made available to our correspondent.

The funding will support global efforts to overcome the final hurdles to polio eradication, vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next five years and continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.

The Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, Svenja Schulze, while contributing said, “No place is safe until polio has been eradicated everywhere. As long as the virus still exists somewhere in the world, it can spread – including in our own country. We now have a realistic chance to eradicate polio completely, and we want to jointly seize that chance

“Germany will remain a strong and committed partner in the global fight against polio. This year, it is providing EUR 35 million for this cause. And next year we plan to further strengthen our efforts and support GPEI with EUR 37 million – pending parliamentary approval. By supporting the GPEI, we are also strengthening national health systems. That leads to healthier societies, far beyond the polio response.”

The statement noted that wild poliovirus is endemic in just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“However, after just six cases were recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan. Additionally, outbreaks of cVDPV, variants of the poliovirus that can emerge in places where not enough people have been immunised, continue to spread across parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, with new outbreaks detected in the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom in recent months,” the statement read in part.

The Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, in the statement also said, “The new detections of polio this year in previously polio-free countries are a stark reminder that if we do not deliver our goal of ending polio everywhere, it may resurge globally.

“We are grateful for donors’ new and continued support for eradication, but there is further work to do to fully fund the 2022-2026 Strategy. We must remember the significant challenges we have overcome to get this far against polio, stay the course and finish the job once and for all.

“Children deserve to live in a polio-free world, but as we have seen this year with painful clarity, until we reach every community and vaccinate every child, the threat of polio will persist,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “UNICEF is grateful for the generosity of our donors and the pledges made today, which will help us finish the job of eradicating polio.  When we invest in immunization and health systems, we are investing in a safer, healthier future for everyone, everywhere.”

In addition to the funding for GPEI, a group of more than 3 000 influential scientists, physicians, and public health experts from around the world released a declaration endorsing the 2022-2026 Strategy and calling on donors to stay committed to eradication and ensure GPEI is fully funded.

The group points to new tactics contained in the program’s strategy, like the continued roll-out of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2, that make them confident in GPEI’s ability to end polio. Five hundred million doses of nOPV2 have already been administered across 23 countries, and field data continue to show its promise as a tool to more sustainably stop outbreaks of type 2 cVDPV.

The group further asserts that support for eradication significantly strengthens immunization systems and pandemic preparedness around the world—pointing to GPEI’s support for the COVID-19 response—and urges endemic and polio-affected country leadership to stay committed to expanded vaccination and disease surveillance activities.

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