On World Polio Day, advocates call for Australia to boost funding

Published on Devex by Lisa Cornish 24 October 2016

World Polio Day 2016 is often an opportunity to highlight the successes of global eradication programs and plan for the coming year. But in Australia, the occasion instead sparked concern over how a shrinking foreign aid budget will have an impact on eradication.

Cuts to Australia’s aid program will see funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative fall dramatically, from 15 million Australian dollars ($11.5 million) to AU$3 million in 2017.

Advocates gathering at a World Polio Day breakfast at Parliament House on Oct 19, hosted by Global Citizen, RESULTS Australia, UNICEF and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, made their case to maintain funding levels.

Just 30 new cases of polio have been reported for the year to date, and the number of children not vaccinated is falling. Still, unexpected outbreaks, such as those in Syria in 2013 and recently in Nigeria, point to the importance of ongoing efforts and vigilance.

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