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Donors pledge $630m to help boost global polio eradication

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 27 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b335
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the British and German governments last week pledged more than $630m (£440m; €475m) in new funds to step up the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.

    The funds are to be used by the World Health Organization’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative for immunisation programmes and research into new vaccines and to enhance surveillance activities to detect cases of the disease and contain outbreaks.

    The initiative was launched in 1988 and spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Unicef, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, and national governments. However, the initiative has failed to meet a number of target dates—the latest at the end of 2005—for eradicating the virus.

    In the past few decades efforts at eradication have helped reduce the number of cases of polio from 350 000 a year in the 1980s to …

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