For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 10, 2004
G-8 Commitment to Help Stop Polio Forever
In 1988, the world's health ministers unanimously
committed to eradicating polio. The G-8 countries took up this
challenge and together with partners from public and private sectors
have raised over $3.3 billion to fund polio immunization campaigns
around the world. Already, millions of children have been spared the
crippling effects of polio, and if the World Health Organization-led
global Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) succeeds, polio will be
eradicated globally by 2005. Only one other major disease -- smallpox
-- has been eliminated.
But there are risks ahead. Polio is still present, in varying
degrees, in six countries: India, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Niger,
and Nigeria. Polio has now reemerged in nine countries in Africa. The
Polio Eradication Initiative is facing a funding shortfall for
2004-2005. We are within striking distance of closing this gap, and
sustaining the efforts will allow immunization campaigns to continue
and will bring us closer to our goal of a polio-free world. The gains
we have made against this disease will disappear if we do not act now.
Key to our success will be an increased engagement and commitment of
the polio-endemic countries.
We will take all necessary steps to eradicate polio by
To ensure that polio does not reemerge, we will work to ensure
the full integration of necessary measures in national health
strategies and structures in the post-eradication period through
We are pleased that the financing gap for 2004 has now been
closed through our efforts and those of others. We are determined to
close the 2005 financing gap by the 2005 G-8 Summit through
contributions from the G-8 and other public and private donors.
We urge governments that have pledged money for polio
eradication to turn their pledges into real contributions. We will
work to ensure that contributions are made in a timely manner so as to
enable budgeting and planning for effective immunization campaigns from
now through 2005.
We will also remain engaged with the governments of the six
polio-endemic countries and the nine countries in which polio is now
spreading to urge them to take stronger steps to contain and destroy
the polio virus. We will also engage other donors and organizations to
help support and encourage these countries.
The G-8 welcomes the resolution on polio eradication passed by
the Organization of the Islamic Conference Summit held in Malaysia,
from 16-17 October 2003, as another example of partnership in the
effort to eradicate polio.
The G-8 recognizes the excellent work of the Polio Eradication
Initiative and the special contribution made by Rotary International,
through direct financial contributions and the engagement of thousands
of volunteers throughout the world.