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Tech titan Bill Gates: Polio-free India one of the 'most impressive accomplishments' ever

$255m well spent for Microsoft kingpin

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Bill Gates has claimed that getting involved in eradicating polio from India is not only his greatest achievement, but that the programme itself is one of the "most impressive accomplishments" in global health ever.

The charity Gates runs with his wife donated $255m to Rotary International, which is one of the key partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

India is now officially polio-free, according to the country's health officials.

On the website of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is inexplicably called Impatient Optimists, Gates wrote: "As of today, India has gone three years without a single case of wild poliovirus, which means it’s now officially 'polio-free'. India’s achievement is one of the most impressive accomplishments in global health, ever."

He added: "India’s victory galvanized the global health community to commit to achieving a polio-free world by 2018. Now, we only have 3 more countries to go, down from 125 in 1988."

Backed by Gates' cash as well as funding and support from the World Health Organization, the CDC and UNICEF, the Indian government employed 2 million people who went out into the furthest-flung parts of the sub-continent and vaccinated hard-to-reach people.

"One of the most powerful images I’ve seen during my visits to India is that of parents proudly holding vaccination cards showing that their children were protected from deadly diseases for the first time," Gates continued.

"And now that these children have been found, health workers can supply them with much more than just polio drops. They can provide other critical health services like measles vaccines, clean water, and information about how to deliver their babies safely and care for them during their first weeks of life." ®

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