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The EndPolio bear will be distributed to politicians, donor stakeholders, and recognized German social media influencers. In the lead-up to the Summit and beyond, this commemorative bear, made in partnership with Steiff, encourages everyone to play their part to ensure that no child will ever suffer from this deadly disease again.

Margarete Steiff, born on July 24th 1847 in Giengen an der Brenz, fell ill at the age of one and a half. She developed a high fever and could not move her legs and right arm. At that time, there was no vaccine against polio. Margarete survived the serious illness but was confined to a wheelchair from then on. This did not stop her from becoming one of the most famous toy manufacturers in the world.

“The EndPolio bear symbolizes a loving companion in childhood – a childhood that should be free of polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases – and which all children deserve, no matter where they live,” said Dr. Beatrice Steiff, the great grand-niece of founder Margarete Steiff who is a physician and still close to the family business. “We are delighted to play our role in this campaign to end polio for good“, she said.

Since the establishment of the GPEI in 1988, the global polio burden has been reduced by 99%, thanks to the efforts of frontline workers, communities, local governments, and global partners. To echo this remarkable progress, the EndPolio bear will be wearing a “99% THERE #EndPolio” badge.

The unexpected global spread of polio this year has reminded the world that until polio is eradicated, it will remain a threat to people everywhere. During the World Health Summit in Berlin, world leaders will pledge financial and political support for the eradication of polio. Polio is one of only a small number of diseases that can be completely eradicated and would make it only the second disease – after smallpox – to be eradicated. With continued support, the world community could ensure that every child is protected.

“Over the last few decades, we’ve come incredibly close to eradicating polio. We have the tools to stop this disease forever in the next few years but we need continued support from donors and partners to make that possibility a reality, “said Jay Wenger, director of the Polio Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Steiff on the EndPolio bear as a way to encourage everyone to do their part to ensure that no child will ever again suffer from this devastating disease again.”

Together with Dr. Beatrice Steiff, Ulrike Jarolimeck and Hans-Joachim Wöbbeking, two polio survivors who are involved with the Federal Polio Association, will help distribute the EndPolio bears to the attendees of the Polio Pledging Moment on October 18th, an event that is co-hosted by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“It is so important that countries join forces to bring vaccinations to people in the furthest corners of our planet and banish the virus once and for all,“ said Ulrike Jarolimeck, who contracted polio in 1954 as a two year old. “We cannot afford to stop efforts to eradicate polio and let the disease bounce back.“


Donations to End Polio Now via https://www.endpolio.org/donate help to make sure vaccinators on the ground have the resources they need to reach every child with the polio vaccine.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL POLIO ERADICATION INITIATIVE:

Founded in 1988, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

ABOUT THE WORLD HEALTH SUMMIT:

The World Health Summit is an annual international forum for global health that takes place in Berlin. The summit brings together stakeholders from politics, science, business, and civil society from around the world to jointly develop innovative solutions for better health and well-being for all. The World Health Summit was launched in 2009 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Berlin Charité. The summit is traditionally held under the patronage of the German Federal Chancellor, the French President, the President of the European Commission and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The President of the World Health Summit is Axel R. Pries, Dean of the Charité.