Funding of $2.6 billion announced at World Health Summit to end Polio

At the World Health Summit, arranged by the World Health Organization, the leaders of many countries announced total funding of US $2.6 billion. The funding has been awarded to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy which is targeted towards ending polio from the face of the Earth. The announcement was done during the pledge moment hosted by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development at the World Health Summit. As a part of this strategy, the funding will be used against completely eradicating polio. To achieve this vision, around 370 million children will be vaccinated per year over the next five years, against polio. This will also include doing surveillance against polio in around 50 countries to manage the disease.  Svenja Schulze, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Germany, stated that as long as polio is not eradicated from the world, no place is safe. Further adding, Schulze said that the virus still exists in many countries across the world, so it can spread to other areas, and in our country as well. So through this strategy and the collaborative efforts from the global leader, the world now has an actual chance to completely eradicate polio from Earth. Schulze further added that Germany will remain a strong and committed partner during this collaborative effort against polio. Talking about Germany’s contribution towards polio management, Svenja Schulze said that it will be providing initial funding of EUR 35 million. For the next year, Svenja Schulze said that Germany will be strengthening its activities against polio and strengthening its contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the funding of EUR 37 million, once it gets approved in the German Parliament.  As announced by the WHO, Polio is considered endemic only in two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The agency also notified that in 2021, it reported a total of six cases of polio. But it has increased in 2022, as so far around 29 cases of polio have been reported. This elevated number of cases of polio is due to the new cases found in South Africa. The thing of concern is that the variant found in South Africa is similar to the variant of poliovirus found in Pakistan. WHO also stated that the cVDPV variant of polio is expected to spread in Africa, Asia, and some parts of Europe. This variant is mainly effective against people who still have not been immunized against polio. The cVDPV variant of polio is also expected to spread in the United States.  During this year, WHO has reported a few cases of Polio in the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom. This suggests that the Poliovirus is actively spreading across the regions. Because of this, the collaboration between the countries at the World Health Summit will be focused mainly on wider vaccination against polio. Vaccination is the most effective way to manage polio infection in children, as there is still no cure available for the disease. Polio is a serious disease that can leave the infected person handicapped for their entire life.