$1.1 Billion Funds Polio's Second Ending
The European Commission (EC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a new financing partnership focused on eradicating polio and ensuring that innovations in health are more accessible to the people.
Confirmed on October 11, 2023, the expected $1.1 billion financing package aims to provide new funding to eradicate a human disease for only the second time in history: polio.
As implementing partners for the polio funding, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF will deploy the resources to eradicate polio, support the distribution of other childhood immunizations, and strengthen health systems to better respond to emerging health threats.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), there are 35 countries with poliovirus detections, two polio-endemic endemic countries, and eight at-risk countries as of August 2023.
The total number of poliomyelitis samples collected in countries with poliovirus transmission was 12,259 from 40 countries in 2022, an increase from 36 countries in 2021.
These poliovirus detections included the southern part of New York.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen commented in a related press release, "We are about to wipe polio off the face of the Earth."
"The EC, the EIB and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering to get through the final stretch."
"With 1 billion euros supported by our European investment strategy Global Gateway, we will invest in stronger health systems globally and local vaccine and medicines production, manufacturing and administration, where it is most needed."
According to the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated Global Polio Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions Travel Health Notice, issued on September 11, 2023, polio outbreaks and poliovirus detections. are expected to continue.
The WHO confirmed on August 25, 2023, that the spread of poliovirus remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and extended the ongoing emergence for an additional three months.
There are several polio vaccines available worldwide in 2023. In the U.S., polio vaccines are generally available at health clinics and pharmacies.
Furthermore, the WHO and GPEI have led the distribution of about 750 million nOPV2 vaccines in Africa over the past few years.