18 April 2018

Nigeria: Bill Gates - Nigeria One of the Most Difficult Places to End Polio

Photo: The Guardian
Polio.

The co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, has said Nigeria is one of the most difficult places to wipe out polio in the world.

Speaking at the joint forum of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in Westminster yesterday, Gates said India, Nigeria and Pakistan has proven to be the most difficult places to wipe out the disease, adding that it was difficult but achievable.

Gates, who is the second richest man in the world, said the Commonwealth has to learn from itself in solving its own problems, stating examples of what Nigeria learnt from India in the eradication of the dangerous disease.

The philanthropist, according to The Cable, said: "If you want to do something better, find out who is already doing better than anyone else in the world, and adopt what they are doing, to your own challenges. The Commonwealth is ideal for this and you have positive outliers in almost every area of expertise, and you meet regularly to learn from one another.

"Polio eradication is a great example of this. For different reasons, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, are three of the places it has been most difficult to wipe out this disease. But India was declared Polio-free in 2014.

"The lessons learnt from there have helped Nigeria get to zero cases in 2017. And now Pakistan, which still has few cases, very few, is taking those experiences, particularly at the challenges of dealing with insecurity, and they have their cases down to the lowest areas ever.

"So, this success really goes back to the substantial commitments made in part at the Commonwealth meetings. Collectively, Commonwealth nations are experts in far more than just polio eradication.

"Nobody else is better in the world at education than Singapore. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have built very high quality primary healthcare systems, staffed primarily by women healthcare workers."

Gates was in Nigeria in March to discuss the need to invest more in health and education for the future of Nigeria.

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