Minister of State for Development Seán Sherlock has highlighted the importance of World Polio Day as €400,000 of Irish Aid funding is allocated to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Irish Aid has provided €17m to the WHO’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 2006 to develop the capacity of the world’s least developed countries to build sustainable healthcare systems and support the final push to eradicate polio in the world.
“Polio as a disease resonates strongly in Ireland where epidemics in the 1940s and 1950s left many people, particularly children, severely or partially paralysed before the introduction of routine polio vaccination,” said Minister Sherlock on World Polio Day, 23 October.
“We are now close to eradicating polio worldwide, however we must first overcome critical challenges to public health and immunisation systems in developing countries, which are often brought on by conflict and insecurity.”
Hailing the “health workers who continue to work tirelessly and courageously to reach all children with polio vaccines”, the minister said Ireland’s support of both the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance “aims to ensure that access to life-saving vaccinations, one of the most cost-effective investments in public health and global development, is ensured for all children.
“This work is central to Ireland’s foreign policy and the work of Irish Aid as we continue to help to build better futures for the world’s poorest communities.”