By: Kluger, Jeffrey
Financial and institutional leaders announced a new international push to eradicate polio during a recent United Nations gathering. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Bill Gates, head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, on Saturday addressed a plenary session of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council, and committed to eradicating the disease by 2015. Gates, who has committed more than $1 billion to vaccination efforts, said he would continue to provide funding until it is no longer needed. Rotary International announced $75 million, Australia pledged $50 million, and the Islamic Development Bank committed $227 million to Pakistan. Polio remains epidemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. So far this year, there have been 88 reported cases. India once had the highest incidence in the world, but it just celebrated a full polio-free year.