Canada at the Forefront of Global Polio Eradication EffortsPublished Posted on | By TZTA News
October 18, 2014
The Government of Canada has been at the forefront of the fight against polio. Since 2006, Canada has disbursed $297 million to support polio eradication efforts, namely through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Canada’s support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has contributed to the immunization of millions of children around the globe. New cases of polio have decreased by more than 99 percent since 1988.
At the 2013 Global Vaccine Summit held in Abu Dhabi, Canada reiterated its support for polio eradication initiatives and pledged $250 million over six years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Endgame Strategy, which sets out a roadmap for eradicating polio by 2018. More than $100 million of this pledge has already been disbursed toward polio eradication activities around the world, including:
- $20 million towards UNICEF’s Polio Plus initiative in Pakistan, which aims to address a combination of factors that have led to the continued transmission of the polio virus in that country;
- $20 million to support the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s polio eradication activities in Afghanistan, including conducting immunization campaigns and surveillance to detect movement of the virus, and procuring vaccines; and,
- $20 million to the GPEI’s Endgame Strategy, which aims to strengthen surveillance to detect movement of the virus, strengthen routine immunization, train front-line health workers, and improve the capacity to detect and interrupt the transmission of the poliovirus in polio-endemic countries and high-risk regions.
In addition to the $250 million pledge and in recognition of the need for additional support, in 2014, Canada announced $1 million to the WHO to help contain polio outbreaks in Somalia and $2 million to UNICEF in response to recent polio outbreaks in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. As part of the $5 million provided to the WHO to respond to the humanitarian needs related to the conflict in Syria, the WHO was able to immunize displaced persons at risk of contracting polio. Since the campaign began in late 2013, partners have provided 34 million doses of oral polio vaccine to help contain the outbreak in Syria. The next polio round is scheduled to take place from October 19 to 23, targeting 2.9 million children.