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Three quarters of money to eradicate polio have been raised

Gulland, Anne.  ; London Vol. 346,  (Apr 26, 2013). DOI:10.1136/bmj.f2720

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More than $4bn (£2.6bn; €3.1bn) has been raised for the six year plan to wipe polio from the world map, $1.5bn short of the $5.5bn needed.

The announcement that $4.035bn had been raised was made at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi where governments, philanthropists, and civil society made pledges to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which earlier this month unveiled its plan to eradicate polio from the world by 2018. 1

The biggest donation-$1.8bn-came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with other important donors including the UK government, which pledged $457m, and the Islamic Development Bank pledging $227m.

Bill Gates, who has said that eradicating polio is his top priority, told the summit that 40% of the funding came from philanthropists and 60% from governments.

"One thing we can say is that based on what's happened here today, the financing will not be the thing that stands in the way of achieving the miracle of polio eradication," he said.

To raise the rest of the money, Gates said that he would look to previously generous donors, such as the United States, Japan, and Australia, which have so far made only small contributions. The US has only pledged $90.6m and Japan $1m. The initiative is looking to raise the $5.5bn upfront and many countries prefer to make yearly donations, said Gates.

So far this year, there have been 19 cases of polio compared with 47 in the same period in 2012. The cases occurred in the three remaining endemic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, special adviser on polio to the Pakistani prime minister, told the summit of her government's efforts to ensure that the polio immunisation campaign continues despite attacks on its workers. 2 3 4 She said that dangers still exist and that it was...