Leaders of G20 countries have committed to “strive to fully eradicate polio” in an acknowledgement of global effort to eradicate the disease. It is the first time health has been added to the agenda of G20 meetings under the leadership of German chancellor Angela Merkel. G20 meetings traditionally focus on issues of global significance closely linked to economy, trade and finance. In May health ministers from G20 countries issued their first ever declaration on global health. Inclusion of health in their statement from the summit signals polio eradication is a global priority at the highest level. “The engagement for strong healthcare systems generates new jobs and employment,” said Merkel. “People remain in good health for longer. They can participate in the work process more reliably. Investment in healthcare systems also means investment in economic systems and improves the prospects of all countries, particularly the emerging economies and developing countries”. Eradicating polio is projected to result in savings of up to $30 billion by 2035, making it an example of the economic impact that can be achieved through a focus on health.

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