By Sam Bridge
Alwaleed Philanthropies donates $2m to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, chairman of Alwaleed Philanthropies, has joined Bill Gates and leading figures from the international community to announce the first round of funding to a major global initiative to end polio.
The commitment was made at Reaching the Last Mile forum in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
Alwaleed Philanthropies’ donation of $2 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will support the creation of action plans to expand access to polio vaccination and help reach children everywhere.
GPEI's Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 aims to tackle the final obstacles to the eradication of polio and sustain a polio-free future.
Bill Gates, representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the leading partners of the GPEI, announced and recognised the first funders of the strategy and called for more donors to come forward.
The donation from Alwaleed Philanthropies is the latest in a long line of donations to disease eradication, and its second to support the GPEI following a donation of $30 million in 2013.
Alwaleed Philanthropies has also worked with key partners such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center and UNICEF to tackle Guinea Worm disease, river blindness, measles and rubella, amongst other preventable and treatable diseases.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal said: “Today we have marked an important step in the last push towards a polio free world. Since 1988 an estimated 18 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralyzed due to this disease. Donations deliver change, and collaborative efforts deliver it faster and with deeper impact. That’s why I am here today with these renowned partners, calling on others to join us in this last battle to end Polio for good.”
The GPEI pledging event launched a fundraising push to fill the $3.27 billion funding gap remaining in the 2019-2023 Endgame Strategy. So far, $2.6 billion has been raised.