Bill Gates: World close to eradicating polio

Tech billionaire turned philanthropist Bill Gates stated on Sunday that the world is on the brink of eradicating polio, with only Afghanistan and Pakistan remaining as polio-endemic countries. Gates made these remarks while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh.

According to Gates, only two cases of polio have been reported in Afghanistan and two in Pakistan so far this year. “Every day, polio workers and volunteers analyze data and reach out to communities to ensure every child receives the polio vaccine. These efforts have kept the number of wild polio cases to just four this year. We are very close to eradicating one of the most preventable threats humanity has ever faced, but we must reach zero cases to prevent a resurgence,” he explained.

Gates also highlighted the dangers of complacency in the fight against this deadly viral disease and praised a new $500 million commitment from Saudi Arabia to combat polio over the next five years. This pledge positions Saudi Arabia alongside the U.S. as one of the largest national donors.

He noted the significance of support from influential Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, especially in overcoming vaccine hesitancy in some communities.

The Gates Foundation announced it would establish a regional office in Riyadh to aid polio eradication efforts and support other regional health initiatives.

This announcement coincides with the launch of a new polio vaccination campaign across all provinces of Afghanistan starting Monday, April 29.