Bill Gates in Atlanta: Foundation, Rotary commit $450 million to end polio

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While polio paralysed over 350,000 children year in more than 125 countries around the world 30 years ago, the disease has been contained in all but three countries of Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. There have been only five cases to date in 2017.

"However, children remain at risk everywhere until polio is completely stopped", a United Nations statement said.

"Thanks to the incredible efforts of Rotarians, governments, health workers, partners and donors - including those who have gathered at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta - we are closer than ever to making history". As a Rotary polio ambassador, Cena and Microsoft magnate Bill Gates teamed up today in Atlanta to speak at the annual Rotary International convention, now in its 108th year.

"Up to 150 million dollars in funds raised by Rotary members over the next three years would be matched 2:1 by the Gates Foundation, resulting in up to 450 million dollars in the next three years for the GPEI".

Global leaders have pledged fresh $1.2 billion to protect 450 million children from polio.

After Nigeria recorded four cases of polio previous year, Isaac Adewole, minister of health, at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, told world leaders that in curtailing the spread of Wild Polio Virus (WPV1), across Nigeria's borders, there had been robust worldwide outbreak response and enhanced surveillance activities.

"The vision of eradicating polio began with Rotary, and its support of that effort has been unwavering for more than 35 years", said Gates. "This critical funding helps ensure countries around the world remain polio-free", according to a release from Rotary International.

Germ further said, "The paralysis of even one child by a preventable disease is unacceptable, and I'm proud to see our members redoubling their commitment to ensure we reach every single child with the polio vaccine".

Also, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake said the funding commitments will enable the programme to keep improve performance and overcome challenges to reach every child, including vaccinating children in conflict areas.

"The unrelenting commitment and support of these global leaders will help us do just that - and ultimately end this disease for everyone and forever".

He said, "We are, together, truly on the verge of eradicating polio from the planet-but only if we work relentlessly to reach the children we have not yet reached".

Today's announcement comes on the heels of the news that world governments and other donors have pledged to contribute US$1.2 billion total to the GPEI for polio eradication efforts.

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