Bill Gates made an appeal for others to join his efforts to eradicate world polio on February 7, according to The New York Times.
The campaign to eliminate the disease began in 1985, spearheaded by Rotary International, and Gates joined the push in 2005, his foundation donating $1.3 billion to the endeavor to date. Gates’ efforts include partnership drives with influential people, where he has put up money to help kick-start campaigns, including the recent offer of $65 million to spur Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari to initiate a drive (Zardari has done so).
“If we fail, we’ll be consigned to continuing expensive control measures for the indefinite future,” Thomas R. Frieden, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which leads the country’s effort, was quoted as saying.
While smallpox only requires one vaccination to safeguard its recipient, children in countries with open sewers require repeated applications of polio drops for protection against the disease, one reason it has been so difficult to control.