05 February 2011

Polio's Last Mile

This past week, Bill Gates has appeared just about everywhere to talk about his push to eradicate polio. Since 1988, polio has been reduced from over 350,000 cases in 125 countries to about 1,000 cases in four countries today. Only Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan stand between complete eradication of the disease.
Why the push for eradication? According to the foundation's annual letter, "eradication could save the world up to $50 billion over the next 25 years." Besides the eradication of a terrible disease, the economic burden on families to treat polio -- as well as the funds spent by governments and NGOs -- could be significantly alleviated. Gates also says that he hopes the "success will energize the field of global health by showing that investments in health lead to amazing victories."

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