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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Statement on Wild poliovirus in Nigeria

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400

SEATTLE (August 11th, 2016) - The foundation is deeply concerned about the confirmation of wild poliovirus in Nigeria on what would have been the two-year anniversary with no reported cases on the continent of Africa. Polio is a terrible disease and we are saddened by the news that two children were paralyzed due to the virus.

While we are disappointed, we are not discouraged. In times like these, it’s important to remember that Nigeria and the continent of Africa have made huge strides in the past decade in stopping polio. We continue to be inspired by the perseverance of the millions of health workers who work day and night to vaccinate and protect children.  

The fight to end polio continues, often under some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous circumstances, and we will not give up until every last child is protected. Our partners in the polio program including WHO, UNICEF, CDC and Rotary International in partnership with country governments have the experience and expertise to respond to polio outbreaks, and now more than ever it’s critical that strong disease surveillance and immunization campaigns continue to stop this outbreak.

Unless we eradicate polio once and for all there will always be a threat that it can come back. The Gates Foundation remains strongly committed to supporting partners, governments, and communities until the job is done.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

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