Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
announce $450 million commitment to end polio
ATLANTA, Ga. (June 12, 2017) – Today in Atlanta, outgoing Rotary President John Germ and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced a commitment of up to $450 million to support the eradication of polio.
“The vision of eradicating polio began with Rotary, and its support of that effort has been unwavering for more than 35 years,” said Gates. “Rotary’s commitment to raise $150 million over the next three years to end polio forever is a testament to the compassion, generosity, and kindness of more than a million Rotarians around the world.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the news that world governments and other donors have pledged to contribute US$1.2 billion total to the GPEI for polio eradication efforts. The government funding—also announced today at the Rotary Convention—will substantially help to close the US$1.5 billion funding gap, allowing partners to immunize 450 million children every year and support rigorous disease surveillance in both endemic and at-risk polio-free countries. While the government funding announced today makes considerable headway in the fight to end polio, continued support from donors remains vital to achieve a polio-free world.
The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF – the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year at the start of the initiative to just 37 cases in 2016.