Your Excellency Minister Schulze, Your Excellency Minister Patel, Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends, I thank the government of Germany and Your Excellency Minister Schulze for your longstanding commitment to polio eradication, and for co-hosting this pledging event. On behalf of WHO and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, I welcome all our donors and partners. In the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo is the mummy of Siptah, who ruled Egypt as a child in the 12th Century BC, until he died aged around 16. A deformity in his left foot suggests Siptah likely had polio. This is a disease that has haunted humanity for millennia. And now, we stand on the threshold of eradicating it forever. Since GPEI was launched in 1988, we have reduced the number of cases reported each year from an estimated 350 thousand to just six last year – a reduction of 99.9%. That has meant more than 20 million cases of paralysis averted, and the lives of 1.5 million children saved. View More