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April 25, 2013- Carlos Slim announced today that his foundation will donate $100 million to help end polio. His contribution will go towards funding the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan (2013-2018), a comprehensive six-year plan that was developed to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunity to eradicate polio.
“It has been more than 20 years since children and parents in Mexico and all of Latin America have worried about polio. It is my hope that this donation will help improve the life of children and parents, no matter where they live, by fostering a polio-free world,” said Slim. “We are excited to join the Gates Foundation and other partners in the effort to end this disease once and for all.
Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that can lead to paralysis or death. Due to tremendous advances in 2012, today there are the fewest number of polio cases in the fewest countries ever, creating a unique opportunity to end the disease forever. Today polio remains endemic in only three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria – down from 125 in 1988. In response to this opportunity, the GPEI developed a long-term strategy to achieve global eradication by 2018.
Slim’s announcement was made at the Global Vaccine Summit held yesterday and today in Abu Dhabi. The Summit, held during World Immunization Week (April 24-30), was organized to continue the momentum of the Decade of Vaccines – a vision and commitment to reach all people with the vaccines they need. Critical to this vision is polio eradication, along with the development of affordable new vaccines and the ability for every country in the world to deliver vaccines to every child.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a co-host of the Summit, recognized Slim in opening remarks at the event, noting that Slim is an important new donor in the fight against polio. Later, Gates announced his foundation’s support to help fund the GPEI polio eradication plan over the next six years.
Global leaders joined Gates and Slim in announcing their support for the new GPEI polio eradication plan, which outlines all the steps needed to achieve eradication by 2018. Slim’s and Gates’ contributions supplemented a commitment by global leaders and other philanthropists to back the GPEI plan, with a total of $4B toward the plan’s estimated $5.5B budget over six years
“We now have a comprehensive plan to end polio, but we need it to be fully funded to succeed. Carlos’ generous commitment to support the GPEI plan is helping the world prove that setting ambitious goals leads to big victories, and inspires us to set and achieve more ambitious goals. When we end polio, we’ll be a big step closer to ensuring that we reach all children with the life-saving vaccines they need,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The six-year GPEI plan simultaneously addresses the need to interrupt transmission of the wild poliovirus by the end of 2014, strengthen routine immunization, and lay the groundwork for securing a lasting polio-free world. It is estimated that GPEI could deliver net benefits of US$40-50 billion by 2035.
The Slim Foundation’s contribution further strengthens the relationship between the Carlos Slim Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier this year, the two foundations partnered together to support the opening of the new facilities of the world's leading agricultural research center in Mexico. In 2010, both foundations also partnered on the Mesoamerican Health Initiative an effort to improve the health of the poor in Central America and Southern Mexico.
Carlos Slim Foundation
With strong social and high impact programs, focused on the most vulnerable populations, the Carlos Slim Foundation carries out since 1986 its work in the following areas: education, health, nutrition, social justice, culture, sports, human development, aid in natural disasters, economic development, protection and conservation of the environment, focused in Mexico and Latin America, contributing to improve the quality of life of people of all ages, promote the formation of human capital and generate opportunities that foster the integral development of the beneficiaries and their communities. www.fundacioncarlosslim.org
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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, only 223 new cases have been reported, and only three countries remain endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. For more information, please visit www.polioeradication.org
The GPEI Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 is spearheaded by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in broad consultation with countries, donors, vaccine manufacturers, regulatory agencies and national and international advisory bodies. Polio partner organizations, donors and endemic countries are actively working to secure the necessary funds to ensure money is not a barrier to the plan’s success.
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