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Bill Gates Arrives In Nigeria To Discuss Polio Eradication Efforts

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday, where he held talks with government officials and traditional leaders to discuss polio eradication efforts in the country’s worst-hit northwestern region, Agence France-Presse reports (9/27). During the three-day trip, Gates, along with the foundation’s CEO, Jeff Raikes, will “follow up … on the Abuja Commitments to Polio Eradication, in which Nigerian federal and local government officials committed in 2009 to have at least 90 percent of children immunized against polio toward its eradication,” Daily Times Nigeria writes.

“Immediately following the Abuja commitment, polio cases in Nigeria fell by 95 percent. … But attention to polio waned in 2011, with 30 cases of the paralyzing disease reported so far in six states,” the newspaper writes, adding, “Nigeria is one of only four countries where polio has never been eradicated” (9/28). “The U.N. has blamed the resurgence of polio in Nigeria on a drop in the number of vaccines while vaccination campaigns have also been met with resistance in parts of the country on suspicion the serum could be harmful to children,” AFP notes (9/27).