Who we are

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

  • 6

    core partners

  • 200

    countries involved

  • 20

    million volunteers

  • over3

    billion children Vaccinated

  • US$18

    billion international investment

  • GOAL

    a polio – free world

What are people saying about polio eradication?

Opening speech at the 144th session of the Executive Board, 29 January 2019

“This year I have taken over as chair of the Polio Oversight Board. That’s why my first trip of the New Year was to Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are the two countries that are the last frontier of wild poliovirus. We are so close to ridding humanity of this disease, and I am personally committed to ensuring that we do. I was really impressed by the commitment of the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Closing speech for the 71st World Health Assembly, 26 May 2018:

“You endorsed our 5-year strategic plan on polio transition, to strengthen country health systems that could be affected by the scaling down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.”

On his new role as Pakistan Polio Champion, 7 July 2012:

“I will do my best to take the message to every doorstep of Pakistan. Reaching every child, every time with the polio vaccine is not only necessary, but it is our duty”

In anticipation of the World Health Assembly declaring ‘the completion of polio eradication to be a programmatic emergency for global public health’, 24 May 2012:

“Polio eradication is at a tipping point between success and failure…We are in emergency mode to tip it towards success – working faster and better, focusing on the areas where children are most vulnerable.”

In a statement ahead of the G8 congregation in the United States and the World Health Assembly in Geneva,
17 May 2012:

“Wild viruses and wildfires have two things in common. If neglected, they can spread out of control. If handled properly, they can be stamped out for good. Today, the flame of polio is near extinction — but sparks in three countries threaten to ignite a global blaze. Now is the moment to act.”

Addressing the Governors’ Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, 24 May 2011:

“You have made tremendous progress [in] the past year. Polio cases are down by 95 per cent. But, if we let our guard down for a minute, polio can spring back. We cannot let this happen. Let us eradicate this crippling disease once and for all.”

At the Polio 2012 Summit, New Delhi 25-26 February 2012:

“This [India’s removal from the list of countries with active transmission of endemic polio] gives us hope that we can finally eradicate polio not only from India but from the face of the entire mother earth… The real credit goes to the 2.3 million volunteers who repeatedly vaccinated children even in the most remote areas, often in very bad weather conditions…I commend each one of them for their dedication, commitment and selfless service.”

On a tour of Democratic Republic of the Congo, February 2012:

“Imagine a ship, imperilled at sea, with hundreds of children on board. Of course the international community would respond immediately and fully. Yet, each year poverty and polio steal the lives and the childhood of hundreds of thousands of Congolese children. We have the capacity and the moral obligation to save them – but do we have the will?”

In his annual letter, January 2012:

“The challenge in India was mind-boggling. It’s hard to imagine how you would design a polio campaign that reached every Indian child… The success of the polio eradication program in India and 90 other countries gives me confidence that we can triumph in these final challenging countries [Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan] and end polio once and for all.”

“Polio cases have reduced by more than 99% over the last 30 years. In 1998 there were over 350,000 cases – in 2017, there were only 22 cases worldwide. This is proof that UK aid works.”

“Britain can be proud of the leading role it has played in one of the greatest public health success stories of all time as polio will become only the second human disease to be eradicated from the world, after smallpox. In the future, global attention on polio will need to be maintained, to ensure the world remains rid of this disease.”

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Perth, 29 October 2011:

“We are within grasp of declaring the end of polio worldwide… We need to keep this action going. We know it will yield real results. At the end of the day, it’s a simple action of two drops of vaccine. We can do that in our world and end polio forever.”

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Perth, 29 October 2011:

“Nearly eradicated is not good enough… When we have the vaccines and tools to save children’s lives, it is not good enough to wait. Because while we wait, children are dying. As long as one child remains at risk, all children remain at risk, and that isn’t a risk we can take… few ideas are more powerful than the eradication of human disease – what is missing is the political will to see it through. Let us eradicate polio once and for all.”

Announcing on 28 January 2011 that the United Kingdom would double its contribution to polio (for 2011-2012) even in the midst of the recession:

“There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
I passionately believe that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of the evil of polio. We have the vaccines and the tools to do it. All that’s missing is real and sustained political will to see this effort through to the end.”

At the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Strategic Plan 2010-2012 in June 2010:

“Let’s act and let’s act with an eye to results.
We must all dedicate ourselves to writing this final chapter and closing the book on polio forever. For every child.”

During a visit to India on October 27, 2011, Fernando Alonso administered polio vaccine and visited paralysed children:

“Every child deserves the right to run, to play and to live a healthy life without polio.
I’m proud to be here today to immunize children against polio. It is critical that all Indian children continue to be immunized against polio until this disease has been eradicated all over the world. We all hope that happens soon.”

Walking on stage on crutches, the violin virtuoso told the audience at the ‘Concert to End Polio’ in December 2009:

“There is no reason that anybody in this world should have polio… it’s just ridiculous.”