Bill Gates foundation to provide 1.08 billion dollars to Pakistan

Henrietta Brewer
November 21, 2019

During the meeting, Dr Mirza said that global donors have committed $2.6 billion, including $1.08 billion from the Bill Gates Foundation, to end polio in Pakistan.

Cases have been cut by 99 percent over the last three decades, but the type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The commitments announced today come at a critical time for the polio eradication effort.

In Abu Dhabi, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said "one of the world's largest health workforces" had been assembled so that medics reach "every last child with vaccines".

"The new partnership was announced at a recent World Polio Day event hosted at Parliament House and I'd like to personally thank the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt and the co-chairs of Friends of UNICEF Parliamentary Association, Katie Allen MP and Peter Khalil MP for their continued advocacy with government on our goal to eradicate polio", said Mr Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia.

Although polio cannot be cured, it can be prevented by vaccination.

Polio invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours.

When the GPEI launched in 1988, polio paralyzed over 350,000 children across 125 countries every year. Among those paralysed, between 5-10 percent of victims perish when their breathing muscles stop working. Additionally, Nigeria - the last country in Africa to have cases of wild polio - has not seen wild polio since 2016 and the entire WHO African region could be certified wild polio-free in 2020. World Health Organization aims to certify Africa as polio-free next year, under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's "endgame strategy", which culminates in 2023. In unvaccinated populations, or in areas where immunity is low and sanitation is poor, the resilient bug can quickly re-emerge and tear through vulnerable populations. Majority of the cases have been recorded in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

As such, health officials warned that donations in Abu Dhabi alone were not enough.

Lauding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for its efforts against polio, Gates Foundation's Co-chairman Bill Gates vowed to continue bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in the field of health. The funding includes $1.08 billion from the Gates Foundation, around $514 million from Britain, $215 million from the United States, $160 million from Pakistan and $150 million from the charity Rotary International.

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