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UNbacked global partnership to eliminate polio hails new Canadian donation

“These new funds come at a critical juncture for us,” said the Representative for Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization (WHO), David Heymann. “The goal is to finish the job by the end of 2004 – but to succeed, eradication efforts must be intensified, and this means more financial resources are urgently needed.”But the partners in the international drive – WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International and the United States Centers for Disease Control – warned that a shortage of funds still stands in the way of a polio-free world, and urged the global community to follow Canada’s lead and provide the necessary resources.The Canadian contribution comes in response to an intensification of eradication efforts in the last six countries that remain polio-endemic – Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt – down from over 125 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988.The partners have been working with countries to head off an outbreak of polio that has spread from Nigeria to previously polio-free areas of West and Central Africa.”Canada has been a consistent ally of African children, and this latest contribution is yet another example of Canada’s real commitment to development in the region,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “The new resources will help Africa win this fight and bring the world closer to becoming polio-free.” read more