Minister Paradis Continues Canada’s Leadership in the Fight to End Polio

Canada announces additional funding to support crucial work in Africa

April 8, 2014  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced $1 million in additional funding to support the World Health Organization (WHO) work in  Somalia and $2 million to UNICEF in response to recent polio outbreaks in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Minister Paradis made the announcement at a gathering co-hosted by Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the Canadian Network for the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and UNICEF Canada.

"All children, regardless of where they live, deserve a future with hope and optimism. That is what drives Canada’s effort to eradicate polio once and for all. Through the Prime Minister’s Muskoka Initiative we are working to ensure that every last child is reached," said Minister Paradis. "Vaccines are among the most cost-effective investments in global heath, saving about 2.5 million lives each year. As long as polio exists on the planet our government will be a steadfast partner in the fight to make polio history."

The Government of Canada continues to support key partners, such as the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, to help reach the goal set by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative by 2018. Last year, Canada pledged $250 million between 2013 and 2018 to this mission and has already disbursed more than $100 million toward polio eradication activities around the world, including in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan.

"To achieve a polio-free world, sustained support from generous donors like the Canadian government is absolutely critical as it allows us to reach children living in the most remote, disadvantaged and conflict- affected regions of the world," said UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley. "Canada’s continued support of polio eradication worldwide reinforces its position as a global leader in maternal, newborn and child health."

"Canada has been at the front line of this global initiative. Through its government, institutions and organizations, Canada has contributed essential financial and technical resources to consign polio to the history books once and for all," said Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio and Emergencies. "We need Canada’s ongoing leadership, to help secure the financial resources needed to complete the job, and to advocate with leaders in the remaining infected countries to ensure every child is reached with the polio vaccine."

"Rotary commends the Government of Canada for its longstanding support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative," said Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, PolioPlus National Advocacy Advisory, Rotary International. "Canada is a true leader in its commitment to ending polio, and the lessons we learn will be applied to other maternal and child health issues worldwide."

Quick Facts

  • Canada was the first country to donate to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative when it was launched in 1988 by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.
  • Canada has been the single-largest donor to polio eradication in Afghanistan, where more than 12 million children have been vaccinated because of our support.
  • Since 1988, Canada and its partners have supported the immunization of hundreds of millions of children, and polio cases have decreased by more than 99 per cent.
  • The polio virus is had been limited to parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria (where the number of cases was at an all-time low in 2013).
  • There have been recent outbreak areas in the Horn of Africa, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Syria, which are on track to be stopped in the coming year.

Related Products

Associated Links

Contacts

Margaux Stastny
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
819-953-6238
margaux.stastny@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATD_DEV