TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Bill Gates visits Nigeria as part of anti-polio intiative

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday to take stock of a campaign to rid Africa's highest populated nation of polio after a resurgence this year.
Gates spoke with government officials and influential traditional leaders in Nigeria's worst-hit northwestern region on Tuesday, which was his first stop in a three day trip, Michal Fishman, a spokeswoman for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, AFP reports.
In 2009 and 2010, polio cases fell by 95 percent in Nigeria. The Gates foundation said that Nigeria's commitment to eradicate the crippling but vaccine-preventable disease was at its peak during that period. The foundation said that attention to polio waned in 2011 and the disease has now re-emerged as a serious threat to children's health. There have been 30 polio cases reported in six northern states.
Gates, however, was upbeat that Nigeria would win the war against the disease.
"Nigeria has achieved important success with polio over recent years and we are confident it can finish the job," Gates said, according to AFP.
Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the four countries where polio transmission has never been stopped. The United Nations blamed the polio resurgence in Nigeria on a drop in the number of vaccines while vaccination campaigns have also been met with resistance on suspicion that the serum could be harmful to children.
At one time, polio crippled children worldwide. It killed or paralyzed 350,000 children in 1988. That was the year that a global effort began to make the disease only the second after smallpox to be eradicated.