Gates, Rotary and government raise $635m to fight polio

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and the British and German governments have committed more than $630m in new funds to fight polio.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and the British and German governments have committed more than $630m in new funds to fight polio.

The crippling and sometimes fatal disease, which is still a problem in parts of Africa and Asia,paralyses children.

In addition to pledging needed funds, leaders urged additional donors and leaders of countries where polio still exists to join them in an aggressive push for eradication.

The Gates Foundation is awarding a $255m challenge grant to Rotary, which Rotary will match with $100m raised by its members over the next three years.

At the same time, the UK government is giving an additional £100m and Germany is giving an additional $130m over the next five years, both to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

"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 and founder of Microsoft.

"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 get deeply involved in achieving eradication."

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