Global Luminaries Unite to Issue Urgent Call for a Polio-Free World
NEW YORK, September 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
New and Existing Donors Underscore Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to End
In a display of solidarity, leaders from around the world today vowed to capitalize on
progress achieved this year and to step up the fight to eradicate polio. Heads of state
from Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan stood alongside donor government officials and new
donors from the public and private sector to outline what is needed to stamp out this
disease forever: long-term commitment of resources; application of innovative best
practices; and continued leadership and accountability at all levels of government in the
“This decisive moment is a matter of health and justice. Every child should have the
right to start life with equal protection from this disease. That’s why I have made
eradicating polio a top priority for my second term as Secretary-General,” said UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that is more than 99 per cent eliminated from
the world. Today, there are the fewest number of polio cases in the fewest districts in
the fewest countries than at any time in history.
For more information about the UN high-level event “Our Commitment to the Next
Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World” please visit:
“The evidence is clear: if we all do our part, we can and will end this disease. But
we must act quickly and give ourselves the very best chance to succeed,” said Bill Gates,
co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the leading donors to the Global
Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). “When we defeat polio, it will motivate us to aim for
other great health and development milestones.”
“Failure to eradicate polio is unforgiveable, forever. Failure is not an option. No
single one of us can bring this long, hard drive over the last hurdle. But together we
can,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.
“Together we can make history by eradicating polio – thanks mostly to the heroes in
the field who risk their lives, every day, to deliver vaccines to children in some of the
most dangerous parts of the world,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.
“Governments need to step up and honor their commitments to polio eradication if we
are to achieve a polio-free world,” said Wilfrid Wilkinson, Chair of Rotary Foundation
Trustees. “We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge
to the world’s children.”
“We have been given the unique opportunity to end polio and provide a lasting legacy
for the world’s children,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). “Together we must strive to achieve this important global
The Islamic Development Bank, a new donor to the polio eradication effort, announced a
three-year $227 million financing package to Pakistan and a $3 million grant for polio
eradication activities in Afghanistan.
Notes for editors:
The UN High Level event will be live-streamed, 12:30-1:30 EDT, on
Photos and video of the event will be available at
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), launched in 1988, is spearheaded by
national governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, and supported by key partners
including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since its launch, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99 percent. In
1988, more than 350,000 children were paralyzed each year in more than 125 endemic
countries. In 2012, 145 new cases have been reported, and only three countries remain
endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
SOURCE Global Polio Eradication Initiative