Meeting With Bill Gates, Nigerian President Jonathan Re-Affirms Country's Commitment To Eradicating Polio Within Two Years

In a meeting at the presidential villa on Thursday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan told Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “that he was determined to eradicate polio within two years after the crippling disease re-emerged earlier this year,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Some 36 powerful Nigerian state governors Thursday signed a statement re-confirming their February 2009 commitment to … reach at least 90 percent of children with polio vaccine with the goal of wiping out polio from the country,” the news agency writes. According to AFP, Gates, who on Thursday completed a three-day trip to the country, “expressed confidence that polio can be stopped in Nigeria and commended the country’s leaders for redoubling their resolve to help finish polio once and for all, the foundation said in a statement” (9/29).

“President Jonathan said the special team will work with the foundation, states and local governments as well as traditional rulers to sustain the reduction in polio cases until the disease is completely eradicated from Nigeria” and “added that his administration will also welcome greater collaboration with the foundation in its efforts to improve health care delivery in Nigeria and drastically reduce the large number of Nigerians who seek medical care abroad annually,” Nigeria’s The Nation writes (Ikuomola, 9/29).