O'Donnell: IR£2.1 million over next 3 years for Polio Eradication
The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., has re-affirmed Ireland's commitment to supporting the control of communicable diseases in the world's poorest countries. Announcing a grant today of IR£2.1 million over the period 2001- 2003 to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, she told representatives of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and Rotary International that:
"As part of our commitment to help reduce poverty in developing countries, Ireland Aid will continue to support programmes aimed at improving the health of the poor and of addressing preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and polio.
" This scheme has been a tremendous success. In the 13 years since the Global Polio Eradication was launched, the number of cases has fallen by 99% from an estimated 350,000 worldwide. At the end of 2000, the number of polio infected countries was no more than 20, having fallen from 125 in 1988. There is now a real chance this scourge will be eradicated completely by the year 2005 Currently polio is now concentrated only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
"The challenge is to eradicate the disease in the 20 remaining countries in these two regions by 2005 so that the world will be polio free", she added.