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Irish Aid allocated €17m to the World Health Organisation

Budget/funding, Health, Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Africa, 2015

Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Mr. Seán Sherlock, T.D., has highlighted the importance of World Polio Day, as €400,000 of Irish Aid funding is allocated to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Minister Sherlock highlighted the work of Irish Aid in supporting the eradication of diseases linked to poverty. Irish Aid has provided €17 million to the World Health Organization Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 2006 to develop the capacity of the world’s least developed countries to build sustainable healthcare systems and support the final push to eradicate polio in the world.

Speaking on World Polio Day, Minister Sherlock said:

“Polio as a disease resonates strongly in Ireland where epidemics in the 1940’s and 1950’s left many people, particularly children, severely or partially paralysed before the introduction of routine polio vaccination.

“We are now close to eradicating polio worldwide, however we must first overcome critical challenges to public health and immunisation systems in developing countries, which are often brought on by conflict and insecurity. It is fitting that World Polio Day 2015 specifically recognises the health workers who continue to work tirelessly and courageously to reach all children with polio vaccines.

“Ireland’s ongoing support to both the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance aims to ensure that access to life-saving vaccinations, one of the most cost-effective investments in public health and global development, is ensured for all children.

“This work is central to Ireland’s foreign policy and the work of Irish Aid as we continue to help to build better futures for the world’s poorest communities.”

Notes to Editors

Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Irish Aid Polio funding has comprised:

  • €17 million to the World Health Organization Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 2006;
  • Of this, €12 million was provided during the period 2006-08
  • A further €5 Million has been provided in support of the Polio Eradication & Endgame Strategic Plan (2013-18)
  • The current €400,000 tranche is the latest release under the 2013-18 commitment.
  • The WHO announced on 25 September 2015 that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, leaving only two countries in the world where polio remains: Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the first time in history, the entire African continent has marked one year without reporting a single child paralyzed by the wild poliovirus.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is an international organisation - a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

effective and cost-efficient vaccination requires a functioning health system and Ireland continues to prioritise health system strengthening through its investments in other global health initiatives, bilateral programmes and civil society organisations.

Promoting the need to build resilient and sustainable health systems, Ireland places particular emphasis on human resources for health through its longstanding support of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA).