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EU Commission Pledges $61 Million to Protect Us All From Polio

Credit:Balasundaram/UNICEF Ethiopia

Before Monday of this week, $1.5 billion was needed to eradicate polio once and for all. A number which no doubt to many sounds high for a disease that has only seen six cases this year— a record low. Yet the cost of not staying the course is far higher.

In our increasingly connected world, polio anywhere is a risk to children everywhere. And recent outbreaks like the vaccine derived version of the virus that broke this month in Democratic Republic of Congo are testament to the persistence of this paralyzing illness.

So the pledging announcement that shrunk the funding gap by $1.2 billion made at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta on Monday came as very welcome news to the world’s health. This much needed sum is thanks to the donations of nonprofit funds, foundations and 14 countries.

The European Commission were one of those countries, contributing an impressive $61.4 million. The EU no doubt felt the pressure, having received not only letters from Global Citizen but over 1,452 calls from our fellow Global Citizens and activists in the few weeks leading up to the event, urging them to make a commitment to ending polio at the Rotary Convention.  

Such a major commitment to this vital issue proves the EU’s importance to the future of our world, even as its future remains uncertain.

The new funding will go toward disease surveillance, responses to any outbreaks, and the vaccination of more than 400 million children annually. Critically, it will go toward giving one of the greatest gifts possible to mankind: a future free of polio.