Bill Gates to focus on worldwide polio eradication by 2018

Bill Gates is expected to return to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, next month for a summit that will focus on worldwide polio eradication by 2018.

A roadmap to eliminate the disease is expected to be announced after the event, with organizers hoping that it will be the final eradication strategy, TheNational.ae reports.

"We think it's a seminal moment," Joe Cerrell, the director for Europe and the Middle East of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said, according to TheNational.ae. "It's an opportunity for leaders from around the world to come together and pledge their support to try to immunize every child everywhere to make sure that children in poor countries have an opportunity to have a healthy start in life.

"We've never had the technology, the commitment. Having Abu Dhabi there signifies that this really is a global ember, not just for public health experts.

"We really want to make sure that we get the job done this time."

The Global Vaccine Summit is set to take place on April 24 and April 25 in partnership with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates.

"Thanks to tremendous progress in 2012, we now have a unique window of opportunity to change history and end polio," Gates said, TheNational.ae reports. "We must invest now to ensure strong immunization systems will protect our gains against polio and help us reach mothers and children with other life-saving vaccines and additional health services."