Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the funding at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth over the weekend.
Australia will provide the money over four years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to help purchase vaccines, monitor outbreaks and respond when and where needed.
“It will be an investment in saving lives, and although polio affects a small number of children today than it used to, we need to keep this action going,” Prime Minister Gillard said.
“While polio remains anywhere in the world, it is a threat to everyone, and so we’re here today to demonstrate our commitment to ending the fight against polio – that is, ending polio for all time.”
Currently, the World Health Organization’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative needs $590 million to reach the goal of complete eradication.
Head of the Centre for International Health Professor Mike Toole said this announcement is a major step forward in the eradication effort.
“Eradication of polio will not only remove a significant threat to the future of vulnerable children, but will also write a story of success that will reinvigorate public support for aid,” Professor Toole said.
Bill Gates joined other Commonwealth leaders via video to announce $40 million to the initiative from the Gates Foundation.
The past 30 years has seen polio reduced by 99 percent and the number of polio endemic countries has gone from 125 to four (Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan).
To read the announcement in its entirety please CLICK HERE.