ISLAMABAD - The World Banks Board of Directors Friday approved a $41 million additional financing for the Third Partnership for Polio Eradication Project (TPPEP) to support the Government of Pakistans efforts to immunise 32 million children against the crippling effects of polio with the goal of eradicating the disease from the country. In 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched, 125 countries reported an estimated 350,000 cases of polio each year. With the implementation of the strategies recommended by the initiative, cases of polio transmission had dropped by 99 per cent by 2006 and are now limited to only four countries, Pakistan among them. Due to the large-scale floods of 2010 that affected over 20 million people and areas of conflict where access to health services has been limited, there has been resurgence in the number of polio cases in Pakistan. Although Pakistan has seen great progress in the reduction of polio over the last 20 years, it remains one of the few countries where polio still impacts lives and recent increases in the number of cases are worrying, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. With this most recent support, we are assisting the implementation of the emergency plan to eradicate the disease entirely so no one will ever have to live with its devastating effects. Prior to the start of the monsoon floods at the end of July in 2010, a total of 27 polio cases had been reported. However, this number rose to 144 by year-end, compared to 89 confirmed cases in 2009. The floods forced large-scale population movements resulting in large population groups living together in temporary housing with inadequate water and sanitation facilities. This, in turn, has led to exposure of people who had not been previously exposed to the poliovirus. In addition, the prevailing security situation affecting the populations in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has seriously affected immunisation coverage, with an estimated 90 per cent of children under 5 years no longer receiving adequate immunisation. Pakistan can eradicate polio from its territory. In order to achieve this, the country needs to ensure that every child under 5 years is vaccinated at each vaccination round, said Kumari Vinodhani Navaratne, Project Team Leader. Overcoming security related barriers has become critical since 75 per cent of the confirmed polio cases are from KP and FATA.