Gates Foundation announces global health partnership with Tahir Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced a partnership with the Tahir Foundation of Indonesia meant to improve the lives of the poorest people in the world.

Bill Gates and Dato Sri Tahir, the chairman of the Tahir Foundation, announced that their foundations will committee $100 million each over five years toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The collaboration will initially focus on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan (2013-2018).

The comprehensive plan is projected to cost $5.5 billion over six years in an effort to make the world polio-free by 2018.

"Ending polio requires extraordinary partnerships between all sectors and global societies," Tahir said. "We are thrilled to join the Gates Foundation and other partners in the effort to end this disease once and for all."

Polio is endemic in just three countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There were 125 polio-endemic countries in 1988. The vaccine-preventable disease can cause paralysis or death.

"Working with partners like Dr. Tahir will increase our impact in achieving ambitious global health goals such as delivering a polio-free world," Gates said. "Dr. Tahir's generous commitment to support polio eradication demonstrates to the international community how we can come together to solve global challenges."

Gates and Tahir signed a memorandum of understanding at the Global Vaccine Summit held last week in Abu Dhabi. The partnership represents the Gates Foundation's first major private donor partnership in Indonesia.