Football stars and celebrities unite to help end polio – GPEI

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Sports stars unite for the world’s biggest celebrity soccer game to rally support for polio eradication.

World Cup winners, Olympic champions and celebrities aren’t the first people that come to mind when you think of those involved in the effort to end polio. But on June 12, they will unite for the world’s biggest celebrity football game and rally their support to ensure that no child is paralyzed by this disease again.

Usain Bolt, Damian Lewis, Carli Lloyd and Andriy Shevchenko are among those set to star in Soccer Aid for UNICEF this year, as an England XI take on the Soccer Aid World XI in London. Through public donations, they will raise funds to help UNICEF provide vaccines, fight malnutrition and provide safe spaces to protect children in times of crisis.

For polio specifically, these funds will help support the incredible work of polio workers like the brave women of Nigeria who are the backbone of eradication efforts. This network of 20,000 volunteer community mobilizers is critical to reaching every child with polio vaccines, and has been a key reason for Nigeria’s success in eradicating wild polio and contributing to certification of the virus-free African region.

This year is a critical moment in the fight to achieve a polio-free world. Thanks to the GPEI 2022-2026 strategy and the low transmission rates of wild poliomyelitis worldwide (the virus is endemic in only two countries), we have a historic opportunity to end this disease.

But achieving this goal requires a team effort to overcome remaining challenges, such as reaching children in insecure areas and vaccine hesitancy. As we have seen recently with two cases of wild polio in South East Africa imported from Pakistan where it is endemic, while polio persists all over the world, no child is safe.

The polio program is co-hosting its 2022-2026 strategy engagement moment with Germany in October at the World Health Summit, where it will be vital for donors and governments to engage the 4.8 billions of dollars needed to fully fund the program and complete the job. .

You can also play your part in the eradication effort by going to the Soccer Aid page to find out how you can ensure children get the polio vaccine and are protected against polio paralysis for life.

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