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Monday, February 10, 2014

Lawrence Ellison Foundation Joins Global Effort to End Polio with $100 Million Donation

Money to support final push for polio eradication



GENEVA, (Feb. 8, 2014) – Buoyed by progress made in two of three countries where polio has never been stopped and India’s recent success marking three years polio-free, the Lawrence Ellison Foundation announced a planned gift of US$100 million over five years to support global polio eradication. Roughly $20 million of that contribution was delivered in 2013. The donation will help fund the GPEI’s $5.5 billion six-year plan to eradicate polio.

The Lawrence Ellison Foundation brings to 10 the number of major philanthropies that have pledged a total of $535 million – in addition to the $1.8 billion commitment announced by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – during 2013-2018 to support the GPEI strategy. At the Global Vaccine Summit held in Abu Dhabi last April, more than 35 government and private donors, including the Gates Foundation, pledged $4 billion to support the strategy, recognizing the unique opportunity to end the disease forever.

“The global polio eradication effort has done a tremendous job of getting us to the last mile. We knew this last push would be the hardest and the lack of resources can’t be what stands in the way of delivering on the promise of a world without polio. Larry Ellison’s generous donation will help to ensure that all children are protected from this and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Gates.

In 2013, following a year with the lowest-ever number of new wild poliovirus cases worldwide, the global effort faced challenges posed by an inability to vaccinate children and insecurity in Northwest Pakistan and Northern Nigeria, and outbreaks in conflict zones in the Horn of Africa and Syria.

Despite those challenges, the polio program continued to make progress toward the ultimate goal of eradication by 2018: the number of new polio cases in Afghanistan and Nigeria were reduced by 65 and 57 percent respectively in 2013, and India celebrated three years polio-free this January.