Bill and Melinda Gates in Patna, Bihar
Software czar Bill Gates and his wife Melinda met gov- ernment health officials and community workers in Bihar last week. The Microsoft founder has offered
$110 million for introducing a five-in-one vaccine in Kerala
and Tamil Nadu, according to a Timesof India report. Bill
Gates favors introducing the pentavalent vaccine across five
states. Since 2003, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
has invested more than $1.2 billion in projects aimed at
improving public health and development outcomes in
‘We will explore ways to build on achievements in health
and development and tackle the significant burden of dis-
ease that still exists,’ Bill Gates said. ‘We are proud to part-
ner with India because its innovative approaches are saving
and improving lives every day. Yet, despite remarkable
achievements, India endures some of the greatest health
and development burdens in the world.’
Gates met community health workers and state officials
in Bihar to assess the progress of its initiatives in the state.
He checked the progress of the five-year, $80 million grant
made in partnership with the state government. Bihar’s
maternal mortality rate and other related indicators are
among the highest in India. Gates also visited the Cereal
Systems Initiative for South Asia, which aims to help mil-
lions of Indian farmers substantially boost crop yields and
their incomes within 10 years.
India’s success in reducing polio cases by 95 percent,
from 741 in 2009 to only 42 last year, is just one example of
its commitment to improve the lives of the poorest, he said.
‘I believe there is an excellent chance India will be polio
free very soon,’ Gates said.
There has, however, been a polio outbreak in West Bengal
that has persisted for more than 12 months.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTES Y H TTP:// T WI TPIC. COM/PHOTOS/BILLGATES
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