CeSAHA launches the Ilesa school health program
Yesterday, world leaders pledged US$2.6 billion in funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 2022-2026.
The project is championed by Germanyo as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-hosted the Global Health Summit in Berlin.
The funding will support global efforts to overcome the remaining obstacles to polio eradication, vaccinate 370 million children each year for the next five years and continue disease surveillance in 50 countries.
“No place is safe until polio is eradicated everywhere. As long as the virus still exists somewhere in the world, it can spread – including in our own country. We now have a realistic chance to completely eradicate poliomyelitis, and we want to seize this chance together,” said Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.
“Germany will remain a strong and committed partner in the global fight against polio. This year, it is allocating 35 million euros to this cause. And next year we plan to step up our efforts and support the GPEI with €37 million – pending parliamentary approval. By supporting the GPEI, we are also strengthening national health systems. This leads to healthier societies far beyond the polio response,” he added.
Wild poliovirus is only endemic in two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, after just six cases recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in Southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan.
In addition, outbreaks of cVDPV, poliovirus variants that can appear in places where too few people have been vaccinated, continue to spread in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, with new outbreaks detected in the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom in recent months.
“New polio detections this year in previously polio-free countries are a stark reminder that if we don’t reach our goal of eliminating polio everywhere, it could reappear globally,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “We are grateful for the new and continued donor support for eradication, but more work needs to be done to fully fund the 2022-2026 strategy. We must remember the significant challenges we overcame to get this far against polio, to stay the course and finish the job once and for all.
At a difficult time for countries around the world, governments and partners have stepped up to demonstrate their collective resolve to eradicate the second human disease in history. In addition to existing pledges, new commitments to Strategy 2022-2026 this fall.
The Berlin pledging moment marked the first major opportunity to pledge support for the $4.8 billion needed to fully implement the 2022-2026 Strategy.
If the strategy is fully funded and eradication is achieved, it is estimated to result in savings of US$33.1 billion in healthcare costs this century compared to the price of epidemic control . Additionally, continued support to the GPEI will enable it to provide additional health services and immunizations in addition to polio vaccines to underserved communities.
“Children deserve to live in a polio-free world, but as we have seen this year with painful clarity, until we reach every community and immunize every child, the threat of polio will persist,” said said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
By; Kevin Nengia