United Nations hails Kingdom’s $30 million commitment to polio eradication

September 29, 2011

The United Nations Foundation announced late yesterday that Saudi Arabia has already delivered $15 million of its $30 million commitment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The first half of the funding will be used by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for vaccines and by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support campaign operations this year. The remaining $15 million will be released in 2012 to support both agencies.

Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, thanked the Kingdom for its assistance, saying, “This significant contribution will save thousands of children from the devastating effects of the deadly disease polio. It’s more than just a donation – it’s a gift that symbolizes the successful partnership between donors and health workers for millions of children.”

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration, also welcomed the contribution. “This new commitment from Saudi Arabia enables the last steps towards the eradication of this ancient disease, and we hope it will inspire others in the region to bring their considerable financial and political support to ending polio and protecting the most vulnerable,” he said.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake commented, “The fight against polio is a global challenge for all of us. Its defeat will be a ringing victory for all of humanity – marking only the second time in history a disease has been eradicated. With this generous donation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia we move closer to achieving this goal, and to saving millions of people from the threat of this crippling disease.”

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