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
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
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 Donations since 1985 in US$
millions (includes pledges to 2005)
United States (CDC, USAID) 598
Rotary International 462
United Kingdom 341
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 50
United Nations Foundation 31
- Of the European governments, the United Kingdom has
contributed the most funding to the Initiative to date:
over US$ 341 million since 1985. In 2002, the UK's Department
for International Development (DFID) set in motion more
than US$ 100 million for polio eradication activities
in India over the next four years.
- The Netherlands has donated US$ 110 million since
2000, to support vital disease surveillance systems.
- Germany has been a long-standing partner to the polio
eradication programme in India, providing US$ 65 million
for oral polio vaccine since 1997.
- Denmark was also one of the earliest partners to
the programme in India, providing support since 1997
for vaccine, cold chain, and surveillance support.
- In 2001 Luxembourg, with its first contribution to
the Initiative, showed how the impact of a donation
can be maximised by strategic directing of funds. Luxembourg
made a US$ 3.2 million contribution to fully fund the
gaps in six of its priority countries: Burkina Faso,
Cape Verde, Mali, Namibia, Niger and Senegal.
- Italy has provided US$ 1 million each year over the
past three years for India's polio eradication efforts.
- In 2001, Norway provided US$ 3.1 million to the Initiative,
both globally and to support activities in Nepal and
- In 2001, Ireland signed a three-year US$ 2.3 million
global pledge, in addition to supporting activities
- In 2001, the European Commission provided US$ 17.4
million to the governments of Nigeria for its polio
- Private sector partners including Aventis Pasteur,
British Airways (through the 'Change for Good' Appeal)
and De Beers have made significant contributions.
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.