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Bill Gates Says Expect Polio Eradication by 2018, Measles and Malaria, You're Next

Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft turned global health pioneer through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, did a Reddit AMA on...

Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft turned global health pioneer through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, did a Reddit AMA on Monday, and discussed everything from polio vaccination to how he used to jump over chairs to train for what he called his "hard core" skiing habit.

We've pulled together his best answers on global health topics, including his prediction that polio will be completely eradicated by 2018.


On whether polio eradication is attainable in the next decade, and what he thinks about the recent attacks on vaccination campaign workers in Pakistan and Nigeria:

The violence against the vaccinators in both Pakistan and Nigeria is a terrible thing. However both countries are committed to finishing the eradication. This is the project I spent most of my time on. We should be able to finish by 2018 although that will require raising funds and some great execution. We have some innovations like the way we use satellite maps to find all the villages and GPS tracking to make sure the teams go to every hut that are helping out. Polio is a harder disease than smallpox was but it is doable. (I discuss this more at www.billsletter.com)
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(You can sign a White House petition about those vaccine campaign workers here.)
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On what public health cause is on the cusp of being solved:

Polio is the first thing to get done since we are close. Within 6 years we will have the last case. After that we will go after malaria and measles. Malaria kills over 500,000 kids every year mostly in Africa and did not get enough attention until the last decade. We also need vaccines to prevent HIV and TB which are making progress...

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On the greatest achievement of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

So far our biggest impact has been getting vaccines for things like diarrhea and pneumonia out which has saved millions of lives. Polio will be a great achievement along with key partners when that gets done.
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On the particular challenges facing India:
India is making progress but there is still a lot to do particularly up in the North. They still need to add some of the vaccines that poorer countries are already using and saving lots of lives. India did a great job on polio and is increasing the health budget. We work closely with the federal and state governments to help out...
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Bill also shared this rad video visualizing progress on reducing child mortality worldwide. It's worth a watch:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYpX4l2UeZg
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