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Bill Gates Tours Ghana’s Health System, Discusses Polio Eradication

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “is currently in Ghana to assess the country’s health systems,” Ventures Africa reports. Gates “touched down in Accra March 25, 2013, and says he is in Ghana to get firsthand information on why the country’s immunization system is working so well,” the news service notes (3/26). “Gates’ foundation has been on a high-profile campaign to improve health by increasing vaccinations in poorer nations,” Agence France-Presse writes, adding, “Ghana, with an immunization level above 90 percent for some diseases, is being held up as a success story.” The news service continues, “His visit came ahead of a so-called Global Vaccine Summit set for Abu Dhabi on April 24 and 25, where Gates and others will try to highlight the need for continued support for immunizations, as well as discuss a six-year plan to eliminate polio” (Smith, 3/26).

In related news, “Gates said on Tuesday that the world must commit to wiping out the remaining cases of polio and finally eradicate the disease despite squeezed aid budgets and violence plaguing vaccination efforts,” AFP writes in a separate article. Gates “fended off criticism from those who have argued that the effort and money could be better spent on other causes, arguing forcefully against a reversal of course,” the news agency writes (Smith, 3/26).