Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $10 million to eradicate polio

Dec 9, 2022, 2:06 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm
Polio vaccinations are administered in Pakistan by Rotary International in August 2022.Photo courte...
Polio vaccinations are administered in Pakistan by Rotary International in August 2022.Photo courtesy of Rotary International

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a $10 million donation to help eradicate polio in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and a select number of African countries.

This funding will also support efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in 13 remaining African countries.

The $5 million polio donation went to Rotary International which has spent billions combating the disease.

And a release from the church explains, “Any donation to Rotary is matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — a financial blessing that presents an opportunity to eradicate the disease within our lifetime.”

Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, said, “Rotary is grateful for this very generous contribution from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The funding comes at a critical time for polio eradication efforts and will help protect children from lifelong paralysis due to the poliovirus.”

“The Church of Jesus Christ cares deeply about the impact polio has on children,” Elder Alfred Kyungu of the faith’s Africa West Area Presidency said. “On behalf of the Church and its membership in Africa, I express our deep gratitude to Rotary International for the significant work they do to help children and families on this beautiful continent live happier, healthier lives.”

The other $5 million donated goes to UNICEF in support of efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

Tetanus is contracted through a bacteria commonly found in soil that can enter through a newborn’s umbilical cord or through open wounds. UNICEF along with other partners work together to eliminate the spread of tetanus by giving vaccinations to women of reproductive age or during pregnancy and teaching clean delivery and cord care practices.

“Through its humanitarian services, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported UNICEF’s maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination programs since 2014,” Carla Haddad Mardini, UNICEF’s Director of Private Sector Fundraising and Partnerships said. “We are grateful for this collaboration, which provides flexible resources that enable UNICEF and its partners to reach women in high-risk countries with essential vaccines while also strengthening health systems.”

Tetanus is a significant public health problem in Afghanistan, Angola, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

“The Church is committed to the well-being of mothers and children,” the church’s Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said. “Today’s donation is only one of many recent efforts with respected organizations to address hunger, malnutrition and immunizations. Every child is precious and deserves a healthy start to life. Children lift communities. It is an honor and privilege to support Rotary International, UNICEF and others in this important work.”

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $10 million to eradicate polio