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Canada funds IPV introductions in advance of tOPV-bOPV switch

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© UNICEF /2013/Razan Rashidi

Canada and GPEI sign C$ 20 million contribution for IPV introductions in non-Gavi-eligible countries

31 March 2015, Ottawa, Canada – Following the announcement made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada on 25 February 2015, Canada and GPEI signed today the agreement for a major contribution of C$ 20 million for the introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). The initial announcement was made at a high level meeting on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The funds will be provided to WHO and UNICEF to help introduce IPV in up to 25 non-Gavi-eligible countries. This is part of a globally-coordinated project to introduce IPV in more than 126 countries ahead of the phased removal of oral polio vaccines (OPV), in efforts to secure and maintain a lasting polio-free world, as part of the Endgame Strategic Plan of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The introduction of IPV will be one of the largest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction projects in history, and it is supported by key partners of GPEI and beyond. In light of their essential complementarity, IPV and OPV rolled out together have the best potential to achieve the last mile towards complete eradication. Recent studies demonstrate that IPV not only complements but also boost the efficiency of OPV. In addition, funds will be used to support surveillance and technical assistance activities in a number of countries.

Polio eradication is a concrete contribution towards global maternal and child health development goals. The polio-funded infrastructure helps strengthen routine immunization in key countries, and helps detect, investigate and respond to outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, yellow fever and neonatal tetanus. In West Africa, polio staff have been actively engaged in supporting the Ebola outbreak response activities. Countries are starting to plan to ensure that the infrastructure built up over the past 25 years will continue to benefit broader public health goals.

"Canada's top development priority remains eliminating the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children in developing countries," Prime Minister Harper said.

“I want to thank the Prime Minister for his leadership on this.” commented Bill Gates.

Canada was the first historical donor to polio eradication in 1987 and has become the third-largest public-sector partner in the effort in the 2013-2018 period. Prime Minister Harper’s leadership has helped ensure that global polio eradication and MNCH issues are at the top of global policy agendas on the occasion of an MNCH Summit in May 2014, and his personal engagement was recognized in 2014 when Rotary International awarded him the prestigious Polio Eradication Champion Award.