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UNICEF inducted into Polio Hall of Fame

WARM SPRINGS, GEORGIA, 14 November 2008 – UNICEF was inducted into the Polio Hall of Fame today in recognition of its role as a founding partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The other three founding partners in the initiative—Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—were also inducted.

“UNICEF’s inclusion in the Polio Hall of Fame is proof of the power of partnership,” said Dr. Ahmed Magan, UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization, who represented the agency at the induction ceremony. “Over the past 20 years, more than two billion children have been immunized against polio as a result of the close collaboration of UNICEF, Rotary, WHO, and CDC.”

The GPEI was created in 1988 when the members of the World Health Assembly agreed to establish a global goal to eradicate polio. At that time, wild poliovirus was endemic in more than 125 countries on five continents, paralyzing more than 1,000 children every day. Now polio is endemic in four countries and this year less than 1,500 cases have been reported so far worldwide.

As one of the spearheading partners of the GPEI, UNICEF focuses on specific programmatic components in which the agency has a comparative advantage. In 2007, UNICEF procured over two billion doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV), which were delivered to more than 400 million children during Supplementary Immunization Activities in 27 countries.

UNICEF and its partners continue to assist national governments in planning, monitoring, and evaluating all aspects of immunization activities to interrupt polio transmission in polio-affected countries and to maintain polio-free status elsewhere.

At the induction ceremony the spearheading partners of the GPEI were honored with a plaque detailing their ongoing efforts to eradicate polio. The plaque sits alongside one highlighting the contributions of the original 17 members of the Polio Hall of Fame, which was first unveiled in 1958.

Previous inductees included scientists and leaders that assisted in the development of the vaccine and helped eradicate the disease in the developed world. The Hall of Fame is part of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, founded by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1927.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Christian Moen, UNICEF New York, +1-212-326-7516, cmoen@unicef.org




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