Norwegian funding for polio eradication increased

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Norway is increasing its annual support for efforts to eradicate polio from NOK 50 million to NOK 240 million for the next six years. The funding will be channelled through the GAVI Alliance.

Norway is increasing its annual support for efforts to eradicate polio from NOK 50 million to NOK 240 million for the next six years. The funding will be channelled through the GAVI Alliance.

‘I am very pleased that we have signed an agreement with the GAVI Alliance to support its efforts to eradicate polio. We have an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate this infectious and crippling disease, but a concerted effort is needed if we are to succeed,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The World Health Organization (WHO) fears a new polio epidemic after outbreaks in conflict-affected areas such as Syria and Somalia. In Somalia alone, more than 500 000 children have not been vaccinated because the security situation makes it impossible to reach them. According to WHO, international travellers have also spread the virus, resulting in outbreaks in countries that had previously eliminated polio. These include Iraq and Equatorial Guinea.

The extra NOK 190 million per year is to be spent on vaccination against polio in 73 of the world’s poorest countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan og Nigeria, where the spread of polio is not under control. The extra funding agreed with GAVI will total NOK 1.14 billion over the period 2014 to 2019.

‘The additional Norwegian funding will contribute to permanent eradication of polio by ensuring that polio vaccination is included in the routine immunisation programmes in countries that receive support from GAVI. This is essential if we are to achieve our goal of stamping out the disease,’ said Mr Brende.

CEO Seth Berkley of GAVI is in Oslo to meet the Foreign Minister and sign the agreement. ‘The international community is at a pivotal moment in its efforts to eradicate polio. Norway’s support to the GAVI Alliance is critical in our efforts to strengthen routine immunisation and contribute to the polio end-game strategy, both of which will protect future generations of children,’ said Mr Berkley.