Protecting our investment: the US$ 275 million funding gap
A threat to Europe's polio-free status?
Achieving a polio-free Europe
The WHO European Region has been polio-free for more than three years thanks to the hard work of public health workers and volunteers in its Member States, with the additional financial support of bilateral agencies and international partners.
In addition to the substantial domestic polio eradication costs borne by the European Region Member States, many European governments (including the governments of Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) have supported other countries in the region to protect their children against polio.
Rotary International and the United States government (through US CDC and USAID) have funded considerable vaccine and operational costs; and the United Nations Foundation has also funded over US$ 1.3 million of operational costs to help the polio eradication effort in the region.
European governments and institutions have also made significant contributions to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, funding vital activities in over 100 polio-endemic and high-risk countries.
Top ten donors to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1985:(includes pledges to 2005)
Top ten donors Donations since 1985 in US$ millions
United States (CDC, USAID) 598
This support has helped to bring polio to its lowest levels in history. Today there are just ten polio-endemic countries. The number of polio cases was down by 99.8 per cent from 1988 to only 480 cases last year. Disease surveillance systems have been strengthened. Health workers have been trained to ensure rapid reporting of polio cases and other epidemic-prone diseases. It is critical that we build on these achievements to stop transmission of poliovirus globally and avoid any re-establishment of poliovirus transmission in polio-free areas. Until all children are immunized against polio, children remain at risk from this crippling disease.
Protecting our investment
Today, the greatest risk to the polio-free status of Europe is a reintroduction of the virus from the remaining polio-endemic countries - such as the importations to Bulgaria and Georgia from south Asia in 2001. Helping to finish the job in south Asia and Africa is perhaps the most important step in protecting our investment in a polio-free Europe.