Bloomberg Philanthropies to Donate Additional $25 Million to End Polio
Donation follows Bloomberg’s $100 million contribution to polio eradication efforts in 2013 and is one of three new commitments to polio eradication from private donors totaling $70 million
Michael R. Bloomberg announced today a $25 million donation through Bloomberg Philanthropies to end polio globally. The donation, Bloomberg’s second contribution to polio eradication, will support the work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) – a partnership spearheaded by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
There has been significant progress against polio in recent years. New cases of polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that can lead to paralysis and death, are only seen in three countries today: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. And, within those countries, cases have been cornered to small geographic areas. Cases have been reduced by more than 99 percent since the GPEI was launched in 1988, and fewer children have been paralyzed by the disease so far in 2016 than in any previous year.
Adequate funding and the continuation of strong international cooperation will be key to protecting this progress, stopping all polio outbreaks, and reaching all children, especially those living in the hardest to reach places on earth, with polio vaccines. The detection of polio cases in Nigeria in August 2016, after the country had marked over two years without a case, was a tragic reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant in these efforts until polio is stopped for good.
“Eradicating polio will be one of the greatest public health achievements in history, and while we are getting closer, major threats still loom,” said Bloomberg. “The recent news of new polio cases in Nigeria has only strengthened our resolve to put an end to this terrible and preventable disease for all people, everywhere.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies has collaborated with the Gates Foundation in the past to support polio eradication efforts around the world. Polio eradication is a top priority of the Gates Foundation, and in 2013, Bloomberg donated $100 million to support the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, a comprehensive strategy for ending polio that has been backed by approximately $5.7 billion from international donors.
Bloomberg’s donation is one of three new commitments to polio eradication. An anonymous donor pledged $15 million, and Ray Dalio, Chairman & Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, announced an additional $30 million through the Dalio Foundation to support polio efforts on top of the Dalio Foundation’s initial donation of $50 million made in 2013.
“I am pleased to continue my support of polio eradication. It is a smart investment, and will unlock potential for future advances in global health,” said Dalio, who committed his donation to polio eradication earlier this year. “I trusted the success of the polio program, and the incredible progress of the last few years proves that eradication is possible.”
Private donors are critical to closing the remaining $1.3 billion funding gap to fully fund eradication plans and secure a polio-free world. Other major private donors supporting polio eradication include
Larry Ellison, Carlos Slim, His Royal Highness Alwaleed bin Talal, Carl Icahn, Dato Sri Dr. Tahir, Jim Ueltschi, and Richard Menschel.
“These philanthropists share the Gates Foundation’s vision for improving lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations, and ending polio is one of the best ways to do that,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We have never had a better opportunity to stop polio, and the additional support of donors like Mike Bloomberg and Ray Dalio is essential to making that happen.”
Since the implementation of the Endgame Strategic Plan there have been significant milestones in the eradication effort:
- In 2014, the World Health Organization’s entire Southeast Asia region was certified polio-free after India, once considered the most difficult place to stop polio, marked three years without a single new case.
- Just one of the three strains of polio is still paralyzing children—in historically small geographic areas—meaning that, from an epidemiological perspective, polio is behaving like a disease nearing extinction.
- Wild polio virus type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015 and type 3 has not been detected since 2012.
Investments in stopping polio are also helping to improve the overall health of communities. The knowledge and infrastructure built by the polio program help fight diseases like measles, yellow fever and Ebola, as well as strengthen routine immunization and deliver other health services, such as malaria prevention tools and Vitamin A supplements.
Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Gates Foundation have a strong history partnering on global health initiatives. In 2008, the relationship began with an innovative tobacco initiative that seeks to strengthen tobacco control efforts and reduce the toll of tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries. In 2012, the organizations joined other partners from around the world to fund a groundbreaking global family planning initiative to extend information and services to 120 million women by 2020.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.
About the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The GPEI receives financial support from governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations, donor governments, multilateral organizations, private individuals, humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations and corporate partners. Full list of all contributors is available on the GPEI website.