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Economic benefits of the global polio eradication initiative estimated at $40-50 billion
Date:11/22/2010

Boston, MA A new study released today estimates that the global initiative to eradicate polio could provide net benefits of at least US$40-50 billion if transmission of wild polioviruses is interrupted within the next five years. The study provides the first rigorous evaluation of the benefits and costs of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)the single largest project ever undertaken by the global health community. The study comes at a crucial timefollowing an outbreak in the Republic of the Congo and one in Tajikistan earlier this yearthat highlight the risk of delays in finishing the job on polio.

Published in the journal Vaccine, the study, "Economic Analysis of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative," considers investments made since the GPEI was formed in 1988 and those anticipated through 2035. Over this time period, the GPEI's efforts will prevent more than 8 million cases of paralytic polio in children. This translates into billions of dollars saved from reduced treatment costs and gains in productivity.

The study also reported that "add-on" GPEI efforts improve health benefits and lead to even greater economic gains during the same time period. Notably, it estimates an additional $17-90 billion in benefits from life saving effects of delivering vitamin A supplements, which the GPEI has supplied alongside polio vaccines.

"Polio eradication is a good deal, from both a humanitarian and an economic perspective," said Dr. Radboud Duintjer Tebbens of Kid Risk, Inc., the lead author of the study. "The GPEI prevents devastating paralysis and death in children and also allows developing countries and the world to realize meaningful financial benefits."

According to the study, although delays in achieving eradication are costly, even with delays, the GPEI still generates positive net economic benefit estimates.

"Investing now to eradicate polio is an economic imperative, as well as a mora
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Contact: Kimberly Thompson
kimt@kidrisk.org
617-680-2836
Kid Risk, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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