Sustaining polio investments offers a high return

A new investment case shows that successful polio transition in the 8 priority countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region will have a very high return on investment.

Economic and social benefits totaling an estimated US$ 289.2 billion arise from sustaining polio assets and integrating them into expanded immunization, surveillance and emergency response programmes in 8 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the study reveals. As the present cost of this work is US$ 7.5 billion, this means that for every dollar spent, the return on investment is nearly US$ 39.

WHO commissioned the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Australia, to conduct the study, which is the first of its kind. It covers 8 polio transition priority countries in the Region: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Many of these countries are fragile, with challenges ranging from weak health systems and low routine vaccination coverage to political instability.

For years, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has provided substantial technical and financial support in these settings. As we get closer to eradication, it is vital to secure long-term investments to ensure that countries sustain and further strengthen their immunization, disease surveillance and outbreak response capacities. These capacities are necessary to sustain a polio-free world, and at the same time build resilience and deliver improved health outcomes.

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