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$630 million for new push to eradicate polio

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 21, 2009

LONDON – Bill Gates and other donors are giving more than $630 million to the international effort to eradicate polio, after the disease spiked and spread to seven countries that were previously polio-free.

Gates announced Wednesday that his foundation, along with the charity group Rotary International and the British and German governments, would donate the money in the next few years.

Despite the new injection of funds, the campaign still needs $340 million to get through 2010. The World Health Organization estimates about another $2 billion would be needed until 2013, when it hopes that polio will have been wiped out.

Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. In Nigeria, low vaccination rates have allowed the virus to surge, while the war on terror makes reaching every child difficult in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite continued vaccination efforts, the virus remains stubbornly entrenched in India.

Last year, cases were also reported in 11 other African countries and Burma and Nepal.



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