World health experts call on the Australian Government to Close the Gap: We are closer than ever in the fight to end polio
Global community leaders from WHO, UNICEF, Global Citizen and Rotary International meet in Australia during World Immunisation Week to urge the Australian Government to support worldwide polio eradication efforts.
- Increased Australian Government funding is crucial to achieve this goal.
- Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases a year in 125 countries to 37 cases in 2016 in just 3 countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. There have been only five polio cases globally this year.
- Failure to eradicate polio from the last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases globally every year, within 10 years.
Global public health leaders who are fighting to deliver the eradication of polio will meet in Australia during World Immunisation Week (24-30 April) to issue a strong message to the Turnbull Government: with increased political and financial support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the world can grasp a historic opportunity to end transmission of polio in the coming year.
International advocacy organization Global Citizen and RESULTS Australia will bring together leading experts from the GPEI, the partnership that leads polio eradication efforts worldwide, including national governments, the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and Rotary International on 26-27 April for meetings with Government officials and high-level panel discussions in Canberra and Sydney.
At a time when we have never been closer to eradicating this disease, the GPEI faces a $1.3 billion funding gap between committed funding and the funding required to reach every last child. Despite the Government originally committing to $80 million in funding for GPEI over four years from 2015 to 2018, this funding is now set to decline to just $3 million in the forthcoming 2017-18 budget as a result of the Turnbull Government’s Australian aid cuts.
Leading Australian and international experts will update the Australian Government on the incredible progress made in the fight to end polio and thank Australia for its significant support to date. They will also urge the Government to commit to new and additional funding for the GPEI so that Australian support for international polio eradication efforts would continue at at least $15 million per year through to 2020. Reducing funds now would compromise the polio eradication effort at the time when we have never been closer to eradicating this disease.
Michael Sheldrick, Global Policy Director for Global Citizen: “Australia has been and, we hope will continue to be, a strong contributor in efforts to eliminate this terrible disease once and for all. Polio is on the brink of worldwide eradication but we can’t afford to be complacent now. We are in a race against time. Even one case is a case too many and a case of polio anywhere is a threat everywhere. Additional Australian funding over the next three years is essential if we are to succeed in reaching every last child by interrupting the transmission of polio in the coming year.”
To take action and support this campaign visit https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/action/end-polio-australia/