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Gates Foundation Dedicates Tällberg Prize Toward Ending Polio | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The global effort to eradicate polio received a SEK 1 million boost today as Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicated the monetary award she accepted from the Tällberg Foundation to Rotary International –- a humanitarian service organization that has made a polio-free world its top priority.

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

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The global effort to eradicate polio received a SEK 1 million boost today as Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicated the monetary award she accepted from the Tällberg Foundation to Rotary International –- a humanitarian service organization that has made a polio-free world its top priority.

"Ending polio forever is a critical step in protecting all children from vaccine-preventable diseases and a testament to what innovation can do," said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Rotary International has been an invaluable champion for bringing the world more than 99 percent of the way toward a polio-free world, and will continue to be in the final steps to success."

Accepting the monetary award on behalf of Rotary and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) -- a public/private partnership including the World Health Organization, Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- is Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, past Rotary International president and member of Göteborg Rotary Club.

Mr. Stenhammar thanked the Gates Foundation for their continued efforts to fight polio, and reaffirmed Rotary’s longstanding commitment to a polio-free world. "We are at a tipping point for polio eradication -- there are fewer cases in fewer countries than ever before, and we can’t afford to let up now. The funds received today will be used for critically-needed immunization activities in countries that remain at risk. A funding gap of US $945 million threatens the progress we’ve made in the fight against polio, and we can’t afford to let that happen." Mr. Stenhammar said.

Since Rotary began its polio eradication efforts in 1985 and co-launched the GPEI in 1988, polio cases have plunged 99 percent worldwide, from 350,000 cases a year to fewer than 700 in 2011. Only three countries have never stopped the disease: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

As the volunteer arm and initial financial contributor to the GPEI, Rotary has contributed countless volunteer hours and $1.2B to end polio.

About Rotary

Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos of Rotary members immunizing children against polio available go to: Media Center.

About the Tällberg Foundation

The Tällberg Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established in 1981 to become a platform for a free and open exchange of ideas and experiences that could help tell a story about the future.

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