Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Bill Gates: We cannot stand still on polio, but we can push ahead and end it
At Microsoft I learned that innovation is the most powerful force for change in the world. Today, I see that same excitement and promise in my work in philanthropy.
Thanks to the accelerating pace of innovation, we are making new discoveries to drive progress against poverty, hunger, and disease.
Consider the decline in childhood deaths. In 1955, the year I was born, more than 20 million children under the age of five died. In 2011, that number was 6.9 million.
One of the key reasons behind that amazing progress is the power of immunisation. Vaccines work to save lives and protect children for a lifetime.
Vaccines have also brought us to the threshold of eradicating polio. In 1988 when the world set the goal of eradication, 350,000 children in 125 countries were paralysed by this horrible disease every year. Last year, there were fewer than 250 cases of polio worldwide.