Global Leaders Support New Six-Year Plan to Deliver a Polio-Free World by 2018

Global Leaders Support New Six-Year Plan to Deliver a Polio-Free World by 2018 
-- Pledges announced will enable over a billion children to be vaccinated 
-- Global eradication program will move simultaneously on multiple fronts 
expanding focus to improve childhood immunization and protect gains made to 
-- New commitments by governments and philanthropists boost effort to meet 
plan's budget goal 
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, at the Global 
Vaccine Summit, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) presented a 
comprehensive six-year plan, the first plan to eradicate all types of polio 
disease – both wild poliovirus and vaccine-derived cases – simultaneously. 
Global leaders and individual philanthropists signaled their confidence in the 
plan by pledging close to three-quarters of the plan's projected US$5.5 
billion cost over six years. They also called upon additional donors to commit 
up front the additional US$1.5 billion needed to ensure eradication. 
The new plan capitalizes on the best opportunity to eradicate polio, with the 
number of children paralyzed by this disease at the lowest level ever: just 
223 cases in 2012 and only 19 so far this year. The urgency is linked to the 
tremendous advances made in 2012 and the narrow window of opportunity to seize 
on that progress and stop all poliovirus transmission before polio-free 
countries become re-infected. 
"After millennia battling polio, this plan puts us within sight of the 
endgame. We have new knowledge about the polioviruses, new technologies and 
new tactics to reach the most vulnerable communities. The extensive 
experience, infrastructure and knowledge gained from ending polio can help us 
reach all children and all communities with essential health services," said 
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan. 
A new plan to end polio, strengthen immunization systems and plan for 
The Polio Eradication & Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 was developed by the 
GPEI in extensive consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. The plan 
incorporates the lessons learned from India's success becoming polio-free in 
early 2012 and cutting-edge knowledge about the risk of circulating 
vaccine-derived polioviruses. It also complements the tailored Emergency 
Action Plans being implemented since last year in the remaining polio-endemic 
countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria – including approaches in 
place to vaccinate children in insecure areas. 
At the Summit, held today in Abu Dhabi, global leaders announced their 
confidence in the plan's ability to achieve a lasting polio-free world by 2018 
and pledged their financial and political support for its implementation. 
"Ending polio will not only be an historic feat for humanity, but also a huge 
part of our efforts to reach every hard-to-reach child with a range of 
life-saving vaccines," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. 
The plan addresses the operational challenges of vaccinating children, 
including in densely populated urban areas, hard-to-reach areas and areas of 
insecurity. The plan includes the use of polio eradication experience and 
resources to strengthen immunization systems in high-priority countries. It 
also lays out a process for planning how to transition the GPEI's resources 
and lessons, particularly in reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable 
children and communities, so that they continue to be of service to other 
public health efforts. It is estimated that the GPEI's efforts to eradicate 
polio could deliver total net benefits of US$40-50 billion by 2035 from 
reduced treatment costs and gains in productivity. 
Earlier this month, in a Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication, more 
than 400 scientists and global health experts from around the world endorsed 
the GPEI plan, and reaffirmed the conviction that a polio-free world can be 
secured by 2018. 
Philanthropists endorse value of investing in the end of polio 
In remarks made at the Summit, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda 
Gates Foundation, underscored the numerous benefits of ending polio and the 
need to provide health and development interventions to the hardest-to-reach 
children. He also called on additional donors to come forward with long-term 
commitments to fully fund the GPEI plan. 
"This plan isn't just a polio eradication plan, it's a global immunization 
plan with the goal of ending polio while improving efforts to protect all 
children, including the most vulnerable, with life-saving vaccines," said 
Gates.  "Successful implementation of the plan requires a significant but 
time-limited investment that will deliver a polio-free world and pay dividends 
for future generations." 
Gates announced that his foundation would commit one-third of the total cost 
of the GPEI's budget over the plan's six-year implementation, for a total of 
$1.8 billion. The funds will be allocated with the goal of enabling the GPEI 
to operate effectively against all of the plan's objectives. To encourage 
other donors to commit the remaining funding up front, the Gates funding for 
2016-2018 will be released when the GPEI secures funding that ensures the 
foundation's contribution does not exceed one-third of the total budget for 
those years. 
Joining Gates was a new group of individual philanthropists that announced its 
support for full implementation of the new plan. The total new pledges from 
philanthropists to the polio initiative amounted to an additional US$335 
million toward the plan's six-year budget. The donors commended the tremendous 
progress toward eradication made in the last year and expressed their desire 
to help change history and end polio while the opportunity still exists. 
Philanthropies making commitments include: 
Albert L. Ueltschi Foundation Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation-Global Bloomberg 
Philanthropies Carlos Slim Foundation Dalio Foundation The Foundation for a 
Greater Opportunity established by Carl C. Icahn The Tahir Foundation 
A fully-funded plan and sustained political commitment will protect gains made 
to date and enable the GPEI to execute against short- and long-term objectives 
At the Summit, leaders from polio-endemic countries reaffirmed their continued 
focus on polio eradication and welcomed the plan's broadened scope to improve 
immunization systems. 
Praising the plan's expanded focus to ensure that polio eradication efforts 
– which reach the world's most vulnerable children – support broader 
health interventions, long-time donors Canada, Germany, Norway and the UK, as 
well as Nigeria, announced new commitments to support the plan's long-term 
objectives. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of 
Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, announced a 
second pledge to polio eradication of US$120 million, adding to his first 
contribution made in 2011. A range of other donors, including the Islamic 
Development Bank, Ireland and Japan, helped round out the additional pledges. 
Rotary International, the flagship donor to the GPEI, pledged its commitment 
through 2018 to raise funds and mobilize support of the endgame strategy. "To 
stop polio once and for all, we need to act quickly so that children are fully 
protected and countries are not re-infected," said Rotary International 
President Sakuji Tanaka. "This takes the commitment of national and local 
leaders where polio still exists, the continued support of donor countries, 
and the steadfast commitment of heroic vaccinators." 
The GPEI will work with donors on the timely conversion of these pledges into 
commitments and the disbursement of funds so that the program can fully 
deliver on the plan. 
The plan's US$5.5 billion budget over six years requires sustaining current 
yearly spending to eradicate polio. The new plan's budget includes the costs 
of reaching and vaccinating more than 250 million children multiple times 
every year, monitoring and surveillance in more than 70 countries, and 
securing the infrastructure that can benefit other health and development 
"Today we have the fewest cases in the fewest places ever, making it critical 
to use the best opportunity the world has ever had to put an end to this 
terrible, preventable disease," said Anne Schuchat, M.D., head of the Center 
for Global Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
Notes for editors: 
The plan was created by the GPEI in extensive consultation with national 
health authorities, global health initiatives, scientific experts, donors and 
other stakeholders. There are four main objectives of the plan: 1) Poliovirus 
Detection and Interruption; 2) Immunization Systems Strengthening and Oral 
Polio Vaccine Withdrawal; 3) Containment and Certification; and 4) Legacy 
Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus: On very rare occasions, the live, 
weakened poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine may genetically alter 
in the immunized person's gut. If a population is seriously under-immunized, 
the virus may begin circulating in the community, and is referred to as a 
circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Between 2000 and 2011 – a 
period in which more than 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine were given 
worldwide – cVDPV outbreaks resulted in 580 polio cases. In the same period, 
wild poliovirus paralyzed more than 15,500 children. As wild poliovirus 
declines, however, the proportion of cVDPV in low-immunity communities rises. 
The new plan uses cutting-edge knowledge about these viruses and new tactics 
to raise immunity, including introduction of inactivated polio vaccine and 
phasing out use of the component of the oral polio vaccine which gives rise to 
the majority of cVDPV. If a population is fully immunized against polio, it 
will be protected against the spread of both wild and vaccine strains of 
Additional resources: 
Breakdown of pledges toward GPEI 2013-2018 budget – 
Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategy Plan Executive Summary –
Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan Fact File –
Global Vaccine Summit Media Resources – 
About GPEI 
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 
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. Today, only three countries remain endemic: 
Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last year, cases of wild poliovirus plunged 
from 650 in 2011 to 223, the largest drop in a decade. As of 17 April, 19 
cases have been reported, a 60% reduction compared to this time last year. 
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:, +1 206 709 3400 ; 
Rotary International: Petina Dixon-Jenkins., +1 847 
866 3054; UNICEF: Sarah Crowe., +1 646 209 1590; US CDC: 
Alan Janssen., +1 404 639 8517; WHO: Sona Bari., 
+41 22 791 1476 or mobile +41 79 475 5511 
SOURCE: Global Polio Eradication Initiative 
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CO: Global Polio Eradication Initiative
-0- Apr/25/2013 08:30 GMT
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