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Rediff.com  » News » India to receive $630 mn to fight polio

India to receive $630 mn to fight polio

January 22, 2009 01:03 IST

The international community, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has pledged over $630 million to fight polio in India over the next three years.

Apart from the Gates Foundation, funds for the cause were also contributed by the Rotary International as well as the governments of United Kingdom and Germany.

In addition to pledging needed funds, the leaders urged additional donors and leaders of countries where polio still exists to join them in aggressive push for eradication of the disease.

The Gates Foundation is awarding a $255 million challenge grant to Rotary, which the latter will match with an additional $100 million raised by its members over the next three years.

At the same time, the United Kingdom is giving an additional $150 million and Germany $130 million both to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Contributions from the UK and Germany over the next five years will not count toward Rotary's match of the Gates Foundation challenge grant.

"However, complete elimination of the polio virus is difficult and will continue to be difficult for a number of years," Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said at the pledging ceremony at San Diego, United States.

He said the GPEI partners will use the new polio eradication funds to support a range of activities, including National Immunisation Days, when countries aim to immunise every child under five years of age with oral polio vaccine.

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