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Bill Gates: United Nations - A Global Call to End Polio This high-level event was truly a huge diplomatic accomplishment to get four world leaders as well as top ministers from four more countries to commit publicly and go on-the-record that they are committed to polio eradication in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The moderator, United Nations President Timothy Wirth, called it "the most important international meeting on polio eradication in the last 20 years." Below you will find Bill Gates’ prepared remarks.

September 27, 2012
As Prepared

The fight to eradicate polio is the thing I spend most of my time on. It is the next big milestone in global health and development.

The world is coming together to do something amazing: protect every single child, everywhere, from a horrible disease. When we succeed, we’ll be motivated to achieve even more ambitious goals. In the next decade, I believe we can create a world in which all children get the vaccines they need.

This year, the world addressed polio as an emergency, and the results have been very encouraging. India has been polio-free for 18 months. Angola is polio-free, again. Pakistan and Afghanistan are reaching unvaccinated children with many lifesaving vaccines. We have all the ingredients to build on this record of progress. The leaders of donor and endemic countries are here demonstrating their commitment. New partners are here joining the cause.

Polio programs are harnessing the power of innovation to improve practices in the field. In Nigeria, they’re now using Geographic Information Systems to create highly accurate maps that identify entire villages full of children who were missed by the old hand-drawn maps. This technology will help vaccinators reach tens of thousands of additional children.

The challenges are still imposing. Funding is becoming more difficult. It’s always hard to make sure we are reaching enough children with the vaccine. And we are working in places where security is a serious problem.

But the evidence is clear: if we all do our part, we can and will end this disease. But we must act quickly and give ourselves the chance to succeed.
  • We need to finish developing a comprehensive long-term plan that will get us across the finish line.
  • We need leadership at all levels, so local leaders feel equally accountable for results.
  • And, we need to generate immediate and long-term funding by next spring to reach our goal.

Eradicating polio is a global good. The entire world will benefit from this victory, and we are all responsible for seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Thank you.
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