Economy

Bill Gates: Polio will be eradicated this year

Bill Gates: Polio will be eradicated this year”

Local Rotary Club members joined their counterparts from all over the world to celebrate World Polio Day and the impact the initiative has had since it began.

Thirty years ago, the polio virus was rampant in more than 120 countries, responsible for the paralysis of about 350,000 people each year, the CNBC website has reported.

The head of the foundation's polio eradication efforts, Dr. Jay Wenger, is hopeful that polio could indeed disappear by this year's end - two years earlier than what Gates previously predicted.

The Gates Foundation pledged $450 million in June to continue supporting efforts against polio.

The Gates Foundation has invested nearly $3 billion in this effort, a spokeswoman told CNBC. In 1985 Rotary International launched Polio Plus-the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication via the mass vaccination of children.

Rotary has now contributed more than 20 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.

"I am telling you mothers, please get your children vaccinated, because an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure", he advised, while pointing to the countless number of children and adults who can not walk because of the impact of polio.

These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents.

"However, polio vaccination can not reach everywhere because of security challenges and other factors, but we believe with the effort of security agencies, we are working towards reaching everywhere".

The chairman, Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, Dr Tunji Funsho, expressed the fear while addressing journalists in a pre-World Polio Day press conference in Awka.

In a video message to the Middle East in February 2017, Bill Gates singled out his foundation's partnership with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as instrumental in the fight against polio.

Polio could very well be the second disease eradicated in our lifetime, next to smallpox.



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