Carlos Slim Foundation contributes $100 million to GPEI

Carlos Slim announced at the Global Vaccine Summit last Thursday that his foundation will donate $100 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's new strategy to eradicate polio by 2018.

"It has been more than 20 years since children and parents in Mexico and all of Latin America have worried about polio," Slim said. "It is my hope that this donation will help improve the life of children and parents, no matter where they live, by fostering a polio-free world. We are excited to join the Gates Foundation and other partners in the effort to end this disease once and for all."

The new GPEI Endgame Strategic Plan strives to eradicate the existence of polio by 2018, which causes paralysis or death in its victims. In 2012, the fewest cases of polio to-date were reported, with the disease only present in three countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria; 125 countries had cases of polio in 1988. With prevalence this low, the initiative is pushing to eradicate the virus and control the potential for outbreaks with existing vaccines on the market.

The new initiative is estimated to cost $5.5 billion over the course of the next six years. $4 billion has already been donated towards this project by a number of organizations, namely the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.

This will be the third project on which the Slim Foundation and Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation partner. They previously worked together on the Mesoamerican Health Initiative and the development of an agricultural research center in Mexico.