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Liechtenstein Helps Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable Children Against Polio

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 24, 2013

The United Nations Foundation applauds a generous, three-year commitment of US$75,000 from the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Championed by Liechtenstein’s Ambassador to the U.S. Claudia Fritsche, the gift will contribute to polio immunization programs in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities where the disease still survives.

“Liechtenstein’s pledge demonstrates that every country, no matter the size, can help thousands of children never experience the crippling effects of polio,” said Ambassador Fritsche. “We all have a part to play in ensuring that future generations are healthy and able to reach their full potential.”

The number of new cases of polio, a disease that once paralyzed 1,000 children a day, dropped by over 99 percent from 1988 to last year. This all-time low presents the best opportunity in history to end polio, which could otherwise spread quickly from the remaining three countries where polio transmission has not yet been stopped—Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Challenges remain, and recent outbreaks make it clear that global support is critical to ending this crippling and sometimes fatal disease.

“We are grateful for Liechtenstein’s contribution to help polio eradication succeed, and look forward to working with governments around the world to stop this disease once and for all,” said Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation.

Liechtenstein’s commitment also contributes to Every Woman Every Child, an unprecedented global movement, spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of women and children around the world. Working with leaders from governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society, Every Woman Every Child aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children and improve the lives of millions more.

Thanks to immunization advocacy by the partners leading GPEI, which include Rotary International, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UN Foundation, most of the world is now polio-free. Since the founding of the GPEI in 1988, the overall number of polio cases worldwide has decreased from 350,000 to 223 in 2012.


Media Contact: Tina Musoke | 202.496.6386 | tmusoke(at)unfoundation(dot)org

About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit

About the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide. For more information, visit

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