The philanthropy that Mayor Bloomberg started announced today that is pledging $100 million to eradicate polio. The money will be given to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's (GPEI) six-year plan to eradicate polio.

Polio is a virus that was prevalent across the globe until the middle of the last century. Parents were scared to let their children out of the house in many instances because of the risk of permanent paralysis as a result of infection. This all changed with the advent of the Salk Polio Vaccination and the rates of polio have declined in almost every country in the world.

Last year there were only 225 recorded cases in just three countries, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India, with a population of over 1 billion people, shocked the world by announcing that it was polio free, years ahead of schedule, in February 2012.

"It's unthinkable that polio still exists in the world when we have the tools and technology to protect children from this preventable, debilitating disease. Now is the time to invest in making polio history. Doing so will protect future generations of children and pave the way for other life-saving interventions to reach the world's most vulnerable populations," said Bloomberg. "We are thrilled to join the Gates Foundation and other partners in the effort to end this disease once and for all."

In response to the donation Bill Gates made a statement.

"We're at a critical juncture in the global effort to end polio. If we're going to achieve a polio-free world, we must act quickly and commit now to providing the resources needed to fund the GPEI plan and to get the job done. Mayor Bloomberg's commitment is a key development in helping to ensure that all children are protected from this and other vaccine-preventable diseases. I look forward to continuing to work with him on this and other critical global health initiatives."

Fear has spread among health officials of the spread of polio with the yearly hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. People from all around the world, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have not eradicated the virus, come together then go back to their own home countries.

Recently there have been vaccination workers killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan by militant Islamists, which has hindered vaccination programs.

The money will go a long way towards the plan to eradicate Polio within the decade.

The press release can be found here.