Thursday, February 2, 2012
Question excerpt from Transcript of Q & A Session with Larry Cohen
You've spent a lot of your time, personally, on polio, traveling to Africa and India. We're getting close. There was a big milestone in India. How do you think we're doing?
Well, this eradication campaign goes back to 1987. In the first years, we made immense progress. And now we've got some countries that are tough. India was expected to be the very toughest country of all. And in fact, now we've gone more than a year without a single case. So that was very exciting.
We have two countries in Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and about seven in Africa, including Nigeria, where we still have cases. So finding all the kids, convincing the moms the vaccine's a good thing, getting out there many, many, many times, even people who are migratory, in rural areas. It's a big challenge. And this is my biggest activity is trying to make sure that this leads to a success.
It'll take years, but, you know, two, three, four years, we should have this one clearly in our sights. And this looks pretty exciting. We really congratulated the Indians, because they surprised people with the diligence and quality of those campaigns. And all of that learning is now being applied in the other countries, where we still have polio.
And in this next year, you'll travel back to a lot of these countries to see how the progress is going towards complete eradication.
Right. In Switzerland, I met with the prime minister of Pakistan, the health minister of Nigeria. I'll get out to Nigeria later in the year. So the idea of encouraging people, trying to understand what tools we could provide to help them with that, their task. It's a very hands-on thing. There's a lot of great work that still needs to be done.
That's great. Thanks for your time. Thanks everyone for the incredible questions that you sent in. We'll be doing more of these, so keep them coming. And as Bill said, to learn more about the foundation work, there's gatesfoundation.org. And you can also follow Bill on his blog, which is GatesNotes.com. Thank you, everybody.