Cablegate: Demarche Request: Russia's Contribution to The


DE RUEHC #5251 2901557
P 171548Z OCT 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. This is an action request. See paragraph 5.

2. SUMMARY. In 2006, there were serious setbacks in the
global fight to end polio with the increased numbers of polio
cases in Nigeria and India, continuing challenges in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and imported cases appearing in
countries previously declared polio-free. There is a critical
$60 million funding gap for 2007 and $355 million for 2008
for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Russia
should be commended for taking quick action to fulfill its G8
commitments and has committed $10 million for 2006-2008.
Please slug responses to OES/IHB's (Tierra Copeland and
Patricia Murphy). End Summary

3. BACKGROUND: Substantial progress has been made since
the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)
in 1988, when polio was endemic in more than 125 countries,
paralyzing 350,000 children each year. The GPEI partnership
includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International, and
U.S. Government agencies (USAID and the Department of Health
and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention HHS/CDC). The U.S. Government has been the
leading financial donor to the effort providing over $1.3
billion since 1988 and representing nearly thirty percent of
the global contributions.

4. As noted by U/S Dobriansky in a policy speech on polio
delivered October 10, 2006, significant progress has been
made globally; still, there have been recent setbacks that
put eradication efforts at risk. In 2006, 1,998 people were
paralyzed by polio and now only four countries (Afghanistan,
India, Nigeria, and Pakistan) still suffer from endemic polio
transmission. Global polio eradication is feasible; however,
donor enthusiasm and financial contributions in the global
polio eradication efforts are waning, even in the face of
re-emerging infections and increasing risk for polio to
regain a global foothold. Challenges facing the polio
eradication effort include:

-- There is a major global funding gap of $60 million for
GPEI to support vaccination campaigns and emergency
operations in outbreak areas for the remainder of 2007. A
shortage of polio funds needed for 2007 will result in a
negative cash flow which can potentially produce an immediate
reduction of polio eradication activities in the remaining
infected countries, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan. In addition, temporary cutbacks will result in
re-infection of polio- free areas, an increase in polio
paralyzed children, delays in outbreak response, and an
increase in overall costs. It is estimated that there is a
shortfall of pledges of, at least, $355 million for
eradication activities projected for 2008.

-- During the 2004-2005 period, polio spread from Northern
Nigeria and India to 21 previously polio-free across the
Middle East and as far east as Indonesia.

-- Spread of polio has increased in 2006, with twice as many
polio cases in five states in Northern Nigeria, and five
times as many cases in India compared to the same period in

-- The remaining areas and populations of polio infections
and transmission are among the poorest of the poor and are
the most difficult to reach.

-- Socio-political issues have complicated vaccination
efforts. For example, in the critical areas of India and
Nigeria, there is great distrust of government and government
programs, and resistance to vaccination, particularly among
Muslim communities.

-- Political will on the part of the governments of
Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan is being severely
tested to follow through on commitments to polio eradication
in their respective countries.

5. ACTION: Embassy is requested to urge senior Foreign
Affairs, Health, and Finance Ministry officials that Russia
consider increasing its support for the WHO and UNICEF-led
Polio Eradication Initiative, including an additional pledge
for 2008-2009. Embassy may draw on the following talking

Begin Talking Points

-- The United States is very concerned that given the
continued endemic transmission of polio in Nigeria, India,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan, a threat remains for importation
to polio-free countries.

-- We are at a critical point in global efforts to eradicate
polio. We are urging the four endemic countries to strengthen
their efforts to eradicate polio and close gaps that have
allowed the number of cases to expand.

-- The United States acknowledges and appreciates Russia's
exemplary past contributions to the Global Polio Eradication
Initiative. There is an urgent $60 million funding gap for
the remainder of 2007 and $355 million for 2008 for the
Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

-- The United States has given generously -- $132 million in
2007 alone -- and we are urging our partners to help close
the funding gap.

End Talking Points

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