Alwaleed Philanthropies joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and partners with new commitment to eradicate polio

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 21, 2019 – His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal AlSaud, Chairman of Alwaleed Philanthropies, 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 atReaching the Last Mile forum in Abu Dhabi, hosted by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) ‘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 in a key pledge moment for the organisation.

Alwaleed Philanthropies’ donation of US $2 million to GPEI will support the creation of action plans to expand access to polio vaccination and help reach children everywhere. The support was recognised during the Polio Pledge Moment at today’s forum, which brought together all the partner organisations and issued a call to action for others to join.

The donation from Alwaleed Philanthropies is the latest in a long line of strategic and coordinated donations to disease eradication, and its second to support the GPEI following a donation of $30 million in 2013. In addition to supporting GPEI, Alwaleed Philanthropies has 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.

Afterwards, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal met with Bill Gates, with whom he has a long and productive relationship, to discuss the remaining challenges in global infectious disease eradication.

Commenting on today’s pledge and the meeting he 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. The funding will help deliver a programme of activity that will continue to protect children and secure progress towards a Polio-free world, as well as help to ensure that the workers and infrastructure developed by the program can support other health needs and development priorities.

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