Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates
Credits: : REUTERS/Henry Romero
The generosity of Canadians in the fight against polio was applauded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Saturday.
At the 67th annual UN General Assembly last September, Canada and the Gates Foundation joined forces to establish the Pennies and More for Polio project.
Both had each originally agreed to match dollar-for-dollar donations made by Canadians to the Rotary Foundation to a maximum of $1 million. Since that goal has already been reached, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Gates' have now agreed to match the total amount of funds which is expected to reach more than $1.6 million.
The money will be given to the World Health Organization's Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
"This innovative program is another example of Canada's and Rotarians' long-time commitment and leadership to ensuring children are forever protected from this debilitating, but preventable, disease," Chris Elias, a spokesman at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement.
Dr. Robert Scott, the chair of Rotary's International Polio Eradication Committee, also praised Canada.
"Canada's support has been, and will continue to be, critical in the final push to end polio," Scott said.
"We are on the verge of eradicating this deadly disease, and must redouble our efforts to ensure that the goal is reached."
Since 1988, Canada has supported the immunization of hundreds of millions of children, which has led to the eradication of the polio virus from almost every country on earth.