Bill Gates Visits Nigeria to Boost Global Fight Against Polio - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Nigerian government to receive more than 100 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) through innovative financing mechanism
ABUJA, Nigeria – Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today said that if Nigeria capitalizes on commitments made by state and federal governments, it can eradicate polio. Mr. Gates is in Nigeria to learn more about national immunization efforts and the country’s strategy to stop polio, a disease that still inflicts severe disability on Nigerian children.
During a press conference in Abuja, Gates commended the renewed resolve he saw firsthand, and expressed optimism that leaders at all levels of the country will help create a movement to protect Nigerian children from polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.
While in Nigeria, Gates observed the efforts of vaccination teams during a nationwide immunization. In Northern Nigeria, where the polio virus continues to circulate, he met with government officials, and traditional and religious leaders. He also met with mothers, traditional birth attendants, and representatives of a Muslim women’s association to discuss their personal experiences with immunization and ideas for achieving polio eradication.
The Gates Foundation also finalized a $25 million agreement with the World Bank to support the purchase of more than 100 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) in Nigeria. The agreement stipulates the Gates Foundation will "buy down" a World Bank loan to the Nigerian government to support polio eradication efforts. Relief of the loan is triggered when Nigeria achieves certain polio program milestones within the next three years, such as attaining 80 percent vaccine coverage in each state. Rotary International and the UN Foundation have also used this innovative financing mechanism for vaccine purchase in Nigeria.
Including this new agreement, the Gates Foundation has committed more than $700 million to polio eradication efforts worldwide. The foundation is actively working with development partners to meet the program’s ongoing financial requirements.