A new study, published in the journal Vaccine, estimates that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) could provide net benefits of at least US$40-50 billion if transmission of wild polioviruses is interrupted within the next five years.
The study considers investments made since the GPEI was formed in 1988 and those anticipated through 2035. Over this time period, the GPEI’s efforts will prevent more than 8 million cases of paralytic polio in children. This translates into billions of dollars saved from reduced treatment costs and gains in productivity.
The study also reported that “add-on” GPEI efforts improve health benefits and lead to even greater economic gains. Notably, it estimates an additional $17-90 billion in benefits from life saving effects of delivering vitamin A supplements, which the GPEI has supplied alongside polio vaccines.
The global incidence of polio has been reduced by 99 percent since 1988 and type 2 wild polioviruses were eradicated in 1999. Intense efforts are underway to stop transmission of types 1 and 3 completely within the next several years, with indigenous transmission remaining only in relatively small areas in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan and re-established transmission in a few countries, including Angola and the DRC.
GPEI is a public-private partnership led by national governments, spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the CDC, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and supported by organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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