Gates Foundation to Rethink Polio Campaign

An Afghan boy benefits from the anti-polio drive launched by UNICEF and WHO amidst domestic conflict. The Bill and Melinda Gates rethinks its approach to cure the global malady. Photo by: UNICEF Sverige / CC BY 2.0 UNICEF SverigeCC BY 2.0

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is planning to revamp its anti-polio strategy as major outbreaks in recent months point to shortcomings of its current one, The Wall Street Journal says.

The new plan, WSJ says, is an integrated anti-polio approach that blends disease-specific measures with initiatives that address the overall health problems of developing countries. The Gates Foundation and its partners in the campaign, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rotary International, are expected to announce more details of the revamp next week.

The plan is an acknowledgment of how disease-specific campaigns can only succeed if the entire health systems of target countries are strengthened, according to WSJ.

“If successful, the recalibrated campaign could shape global health strategy for decades and boost fights against other diseases,” WSJ says, while warning that failure could put the Gates Foundation’s polio war among the “most expensive miscalculations in mankind’s long war with disease.”

Bill Gates already spent USD700 million trying to wipe out polio in developing countries, the newspaper says.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.