WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Lawrence Ellison Foundation contributes $100 million to polio eradication

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a coalition of entities battling the disease, announced on Saturday that the Lawrence Ellison Foundation will donate $100 million over five years to support the eradication of polio.

Including the Lawrence Ellison Foundation, 10 major philanthropies have pledged a total of $535 million to the GPEI. The pledges add to a $1.8 billion commitment announced by Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, between 2013-2018 to support the GPEI strategy.

"The global polio eradication effort has done a tremendous job of getting us to the last mile," Gates said. "We knew this last push would be the hardest and the lack of resources can't be what stands in the way of delivering on the promise of a world without polio. Larry Ellison's generous donation will help to ensure that all children are protected from this and other vaccine-preventable diseases."

During April's Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, more than 35 government and private donors, including the Gates Foundation, pledged $4 billion to support GPEI's six-year, $5.5 billion plan to eradicate polio by 2018.

Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that can result in paralysis or death. There are only three polio endemic countries left in the world: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The number of new polio cases in Nigeria and Afghanistan were reduced by 57 and 65 percent respectively in 2013 when compared to the previous year.

The GPEI said that outbreaks in conflict zones in Syria and the Horn of Africa showed that as long as polio exists in the three endemic countries, the disease remains a global threat.