Gates Says World Must Push to Finally Eradicate Polio

Source: Global Post


In a recent interview, Bill Gates said the world must push to eradicate polio, which is endemic in only three countries—Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Since the United Nations rolled out a campaign to eliminate polio in 1988, the number of cases fell from 360,000 to 223 in 2012. Gates said $900 million per year is being spent by the global campaign, and he fired back at critics who believe the effort and money could be better spent on other causes by arguing that pulling back on polio eradication efforts does not save money. “If you just want to go into the ‘keep it to 100,000 (cases)’ mode, you could probably drop down to $500 million a year,” he said. “But then you’ll be spending $500 million for the rest of time instead of spending $900 million for six years, and you’ll have 100,000 kids getting paralyzed every year—and you’ll have this huge setback to global health.” The new six-year plan, which will be discussed at the Global Vaccine Summit on April 24-25 in Abu Dhabi, factors in room to handle setbacks, Gates added. He also stressed that the campaign is committed to wiping out polio in Nigeria, despite security concerns that have delayed immunization in some states.

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