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Global Health Community Commits Over $630 Million in Aggressive Push for Polio Eradication
Date:1/21/2009

Rotary International, Gates Foundation, United Kingdom, and Germany pledge critically needed funds and urge donor and endemic country governments to help end crippling childhood disease

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rotary International, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the British and German governments today committed more than $630 million in new funds to fight polio, a crippling and sometimes fatal disease that still paralyzes children in parts of Africa and Asia and threatens children everywhere. In addition to pledging needed funds, leaders urged additional donors and leaders of countries where polio still exists to join them in aggressive push for eradication.

The Gates Foundation is awarding a $255 million challenge grant to Rotary, which Rotary will match with $100 million raised by its members over the next three years. At the same time, the United Kingdom is giving an additional $150 million (100 million pounds sterling) and Germany is giving an additional $130 million (EUR 100 million), both to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Contributions from the U.K. and Germany over the next five years will not count toward Rotary's match of the Gates Foundation challenge grant.

As a spearheading partner in the initiative, Rotary's chief role is fundraising, advocacy and mobilizing volunteers. The announcements came during the Rotary International Assembly, the humanitarian service organization's annual leadership conference.

"Rotarians, government leaders and health professionals have made a phenomenal commitment so polio afflicts only a small number of the world's children," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. "However, complete elimination of the polio virus is difficult and will continue to be difficult for a number of years. Rotary in particular has inspired my own personal commitment to ge
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SOURCE Rotary International
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