Canada boosts global commitment to end polio
Past RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson (left) and International PolioPlus Committee Chair Robert S. Scott join Beverley J. Oda, Canada’s minister of international cooperation, in Ottawa, where Oda announced Canada’s C$30 million contribution to help end polio in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo courtesy Canadian International Development Agency
The Canadian government has announced it is contributing C$30 million (US$28 million) toward eradicating polio in sub-Saharan Africa.
The funding follows C$60 million (US$56 million) earmarked in June to help end the disease in Afghanistan.
"Canada's contribution will ensure that millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan are protected against polio," said Beverley J. Oda, minister of international cooperation, on 4 September. "Our innovative partnership with Rotary International, along with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, will help ensure that we move toward destroying this crippling disease."
Canada's latest contribution will help launch national immunization campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa, and at least C$15 million (US$13.9 million) will support disease surveillance and training for medical professionals in Nigeria. The funding comes at a critical time for Nigeria, according to WHO. A polio outbreak in the northern part of the country is putting the sub-Saharan region at risk, and stepped-up immunization activities are essential to prevent the disease from spreading.
In Afghanistan, Canada's support is helping to immunize seven million children under age five against polio. The effort includes mapping nomadic migration routes and establishing vaccination points at major border crossings to synchronize immunization schedules between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
So far, Canada has contributed almost C$331 million (US$308 million) to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, making it one of the top five government donors.
"Canada has led the way in the fight to eradicate polio from the face of the world," said Past RI President Wilfrid Wilkinson. "As chair of Rotary's polio eradication advocacy for Canada, I congratulate the government for its generosity, which is strategically directed to Nigeria and Afghanistan, two of the four remaining polio-endemic countries in the world."