Donors pledge $635M to eradicate polio

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is leading a group of donors that has pledged a combined $635 million to renew the international campaign to eradicate polio, following an increase in polio cases that spread to seven other countries. The Gates foundation has pledged $255 million, the Rotary Foundation has promised its members will raise $100 million and the German and U.K. governments have together pledged $280 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report. All funds will be donated over the next few years.

The donations will be used to fund vaccine research, national immunization days, provide extra vaccines to children in high-risk regions and developing new ways to measure polio outbreaks, according to the WSJ. "I'm very optimistic that we will succeed (with eradicating polio)," said Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated $255 million.

Despite the enormous pledge, an additional $2 billion will bed needed to maintain the campaign until 2013, the goal date for the eradication of polio, according to the World Health Organization. "The idea that this can be easily controlled now is a false premise," said Bruce Aylward, director of the World Health Organization's polio eradication program tells WSJ.

- read the WSJ article
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