Today I announce that the Australian Government will contribute new funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to help the global fight to end polio.
We will provide a further $18 million over two years (2019-2020) to contribute to ending polio transmission in the last remaining countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Australian funding to GPEI will purchase and distribute polio vaccines; support polio surveillance and monitoring; fund immunisation campaigns and strengthen routine immunisation systems.
Through the work of GPEI and donors, including Australia, an estimated 16 million people are active who would have otherwise been paralysed by polio, and the world has saved more than US$27 billion in health costs.
The Australian Government is proud to continue our support to this important global initiative, and this announcement brings Australia's total funding for GPEI to $104 million since 2011.
The world has made great gains in the fight against polio. The incidence of the disease has decreased by more than 99 per cent since 1988, with just five recorded cases of polio so far in 2017.
It is important that this success is continued to the point where there are no new polio cases. If even a single case remains, there is a risk that polio could resurge and spread to countries that are presently polio-free. If we successfully end polio, it will join smallpox as the only human diseases to be permanently eradicated from the world.
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