In his first interview since two new cases of polio were reported in Nigeria, U.S. computer technology mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates told the Voice of America he is hopeful the virus can be eradicated.
Nigeria had been polio-free for two years, when the disease left two children paralyzed in Borno state last week. In an interview with VOA Africa 54 health reporter Linord Moudou, Gates stressed the importance of vaccinating children in remote parts of Nigeria, including areas threatened by Islamic militants.
Despite the challenges, Gates said that children in Nigeria can be protected against the virus. "We're getting smarter all the time about how we find the villages, how we reach out to the traditional leaders," said Gates. "We've got a great team up there. The government's working with us. We need to access kids and we need for people to understand the importance of getting all the kids to take this oral polio vaccine."
Gates’ and his wife Melinda’s charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life around the world. Since 2000, the foundation has donated $3.5 billion to eradicating polio.