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Gates Foundation Commends Commonwealth Contributions to Polio | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Commonwealth political leaders gathered today in Perth, Australia, ahead of this year’s bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to announce new funding for the global fight against polio.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400
Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

SEATTLE -- Commonwealth political leaders gathered today in Perth, Australia, ahead of this year’s bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to announce new funding for the global fight against polio.

The Australian government announced a commitment of $50 million (AUS) to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The Nigerian government pledged an increase from 2011 of a planned $17 million to an annual contribution of $30 million starting in 2012. The Gates Foundation pledged an additional $40 million to GPEI for the remainder of 2011. 

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “We have a tremendous opportunity to build on the progress that has been made in health and development over the last decade. This is particularly true when we consider the unique chance to save many more lives through immunization.

The Commonwealth is showing its strength in uniting against a common threat and setting an important example. Despite a challenging economic environment, it is absolutely critical for donor countries to keep up their commitments—and for countries where polio is still a threat to make sure vaccines reach all children.

This group's leadership and continued partnership on polio are crucial to improving the health and productivity of people worldwide.”

Today, the world is 99 percent of the way to eradicating polio.  But recent outbreaks in places like China and Chad, as well as persistent challenges in Nigeria and Pakistan, remind us that if there is polio anywhere, there is a risk of it spreading and ending up everywhere.

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