Gates Foundation contributes $1.2 billion to the fight to eradicate polio worldwide
The Gates Foundation announced today that it has donated more than $1.2 billion since 2001 to help eradicate the scourge of polio from the globe.
The most recent donation, made on September 21, came from the foundation’s End Polio Now initiative to provide low-cost, long-lasting anti-parasite drugs and to fund other initiatives designed to accelerate the global elimination of all three of the most common diseases that cause paralysis, the foundation said.
“The polio case rate in the United States this year has been the lowest-ever since the global eradication initiative began in 1988,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. “But that’s not the case everywhere. As we continue to reach out, we’re seeing progress in other countries, including in places like Afghanistan. And it’s important to continue to take action in these regions where the progress will require new partnerships.”
“Now is the time for everyone to get involved in the fight to eliminate polio,” Gates continued. “From the moment a child is born, the child is protected by a single, simple intervention, which is: hand-to-mouth breastfeeding. Hand-to-mouth breastfeeding is the most effective and safe way to prevent childhood diseases. Yet, despite its proven benefits, mothers in some areas of the world are often not able to give this simple thing called breast milk because of the lack of resources and infrastructure. So when a child is born with a disease, that child needs help, and right now that help is there.”
“And when that child becomes paralyzed, it needs help. And right now the experts around the world have assembled the most powerful team of medical, scientific and philanthropic resources to address this global challenge. And now is the time for everyone to get involved.”
The money Gates is making available today, which is in addition to the $1.2 billion already donated, will go right where most needed: to improve access to vital breastfeeding and early childhood services in areas where they are needed most.
“The most pressing thing I can think of is to make this money available for the health workers who are delivering care to children who need special help and then to make it available for the researchers who are looking to develop a cure for the terrible