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

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 …

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  1. The Cogito
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see

    the super rich spending some substantial money on worthy causes.

    1. The Man Himself Silver badge

      Re: Nice to see

      Indeed...but sadly people will probably continue to hate him on principle. Which is a shame.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice to see

        continue to hate him on principle

        not on principle, just on account of Windows

      2. jabuzz

        Re: Nice to see

        So he is spending illegally gotten gains (remember Microsoft is a convicted monopolist) to rehabilitate his image and I am supposed to like him for doing that?

        My personal feeling is that the Muslim bastards who are hindering the Polio eradication program in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria as some sort of Christian/Western plot are utterly evil and should all be rounded up and tortured to death for crimes against humanity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice to see

          "So he is spending illegally gotten gains (remember Microsoft is a convicted monopolist) to rehabilitate his image and I am supposed to like him for doing that?"

          Irrespective of what I may think of Microsoft, that's a somewhat tenuous statement at best.

          The man and the company were and are different legal entities. More correctly, he is spending his personal wealth which was obtained though legal remuneration and stock holdings.

          If you seriously believe that Bill Gates is spending his personal fortune simply to "rehabilitate his image", I can only imagine that you have a somewhat embittered view of life.

          As for liking him, well that's a complete irrelevance. Whether you have a personal taste for the man or not, you should allow yourself to acknowledge the fact that he is actually doing something worthwhile with his fortune.

          "My personal feeling is that the Muslim bastards who are hindering the Polio eradication program in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria as some sort of Christian/Western plot are utterly evil and should all be rounded up and tortured to death for crimes against humanity."

          So, you are happy to condemn oppression with yet more oppression, thereby reducing you actions to the same level (or worse) as those you condemn?

          What a refreshing perspective you have. Not.

        2. Turtle

          Re: Nice to see

          "So he is spending illegally gotten gains (remember Microsoft is a convicted monopolist) to rehabilitate his image and I am supposed to like him for doing that?"

          Because the action against Microsoft was a civil and not a criminal trial, and because civil trials result in "judgements" and not "convictions", Microsoft was not "convicted" of anything.

          Because the judgement against Microsoft was later overturned, the judgement was and is invalid and without force.

          That his wealth is "illegally gotten gains" is, of course, gibberish from any point of view having any points of contact with the real world.

          If you think that Bill Gates needs to "rehabilitate his image" then you are profoundly divorced from reality. Even if everything that you think about him is true, the fact of the matter is that outside of those circles that consider Richard Stallman to be anything other than a mentally-ill ideologue, there is no reason to think that public opinion looks at him in any way other than the way that it looks at any other successful business man: pretty positively.

          But I seem to have strayed a bit from your original question, "So he is spending illegally gotten gains (remember Microsoft is a convicted monopolist) to rehabilitate his image and I am supposed to like him for doing that?" to which the answer is "Do you think that he cares whether you like him or not?"

          1. Turtle

            @ jabuzz: Oops! How Could I Forget? Re: Nice to see

            And of course I completely forgot to mention one other important point: Microsoft isn't a "convicted monopolist" because having a monopoly is not illegal. What is illegal, is abusing one's market dominance. The distinction might not be one that you can or want to grasp, but it is real nonetheless.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice to see

        Him?

        It's his wife who wanted to do the charity work.

    2. Turtle

      @The Cogito: Well, some of them, anyway.

      "Nice to see the super rich spending some substantial money on worthy causes."

      Well some of them, anyway.

      Compare and contrast: Bill Gates helps wipe out polio in India. Eric Schmidt devises a plan to bring the internet to the most remote areas of Africa because internet connectivity is just as important as food, medical care, and clean water... but only to someone who already has access to all the food, medical care, and clean water that they, their family, and their friends will ever need.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice to see

      To get PR and make even more money, don't fall for it.

      Still the worlds richest man, how if he's giving away his money?

  2. mickey mouse the fith

    Excellent news

    I really am warming to Bill gates, this is how ultra rich people should spend their excess wealth, to leave a lasting benifit to humanity, hats off to him i say.

    Although, im not sure one of his other main goals, eradicating maleria in Africa is such a good idea, its great for controlling population growth in an environment that can barely sustain the people at the moment, let alone support the million plus that are offed by the pathogen every year.

    1. jm83

      Re: Malaria

      Even if youre joking - youre still a massive twat.

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Malaria

        "Even if youre joking - youre still a massive twat."

        Are you coming on to me? naughty

        And to everyone else, it was a thought experiment hence the "although im not sure" bit at the beginning.

        Besides, Africans seem to do a pretty good job of regulating the population by crapping in their water supplies, settling squabbles with ak47`s and spreading aids everywhere, malaria is just a drop in the ocean compared to their own stupidity and greed. /joke

        1. jm83

          Re: Malaria

          You're still a complete bell-end. /joke.

    2. The Man Himself Silver badge

      Re: Excellent news

      "Although, im not sure one of his other main goals, eradicating maleria in Africa is such a good idea, its great for controlling population growth in an environment that can barely sustain the people at the moment, let alone support the million plus that are offed by the pathogen every year."

      Interesting thinking. Following that logic, seeing as London seems to be getting a bit over-crowded, maybe it's time to re-introduce cholera to the water supply?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excellent news

        "maybe it's time to re-introduce cholera to the water supply?"

        Sorry, old chap. In my part of London, we only drink bottled water and champagne, but your plan might work for the riff-raff and migrants.

        1. Sir Sham Cad
          Pint

          Re: bottled water and champagne

          And us riff-raff will just do what we did to avoid cholera last time round. Only drink beer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent news

      Although, im not sure one of his other main goals, eradicating maleria in Africa is such a good idea, its great for controlling population growth in an environment that can barely sustain the people at the moment, let alone support the million plus that are offed by the pathogen every year.

      But think of the entertainment value that the over population of the planet is going to provide us in the future. We'll be able to have "Running man" type competitions, with live satelite broadcasts of the events, as the lucky contestants get to compete to the death for the glass of water.

    4. Natalie Gritpants

      Re: Excellent news

      Cutting the death rate of children tends to suppress the birth rate. This has happened n numerous countries at numerous times so no need to worry about the African population exploding just because Malaria is eradicated.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Excellent news

        >its great for controlling population growth

        What Natalie said. Birth rate tends to drop with infant mortality rates. Birth rate also drops when levels of female education increase.

        Anyway, in parts of Africa a number of people are protected against the worst effects of malaria, but it comes at the cost of Sickle Cell Anaemia if both parents carry a dominant allele.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Excellent news

      "Although, im not sure one of his other main goals, eradicating maleria in Africa is such a good idea, its great for controlling population growth in an environment that can barely sustain the people at the moment,"

      You do realise the UK is not self sufficient when it comes to agriculture? So I suggest you get yourself and healthy dose of syphilis to help lower our population.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent news

      You are a <actually I decided to remove that word, but you are one anyway.>

  3. Ralph B

    Small Game Hunter

    I dunno. A reckless billionaire hunts an endangered virus to near extinction and nobody says a word against it. Will no one think of the parasitic RNA strands?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Small Game Hunter

      Viruses, unlike rhinos or pandas, can be kept on the very edge of extinction nearly indefinitely- I believe that there are still laboratories that retain the smallpox virus, for example.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Dave 126 - Re: Small Game Hunter

        Viruses ... can be kept on the very edge of extinction nearly indefinitely

        Shame that the same can't be said about politicians.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: @Dave 126 - Small Game Hunter

          >Shame that the same can't be said about politicians.

          You've caught me in a fairly uncharitable mood re politicians... I think it was today's news that the policing bill for last year's badger cull comes to over £1000 per creature... and this reminded me that the House of Commons spent over 100 hours debating the fox-hunting ban, but less than 5 hours debating 2003's invasion of Iraq.

          My instinctive reaction is to [ . . . ] the lot of them, but it wouldn't do any good.

          1. Charles Manning

            Re: @Dave 126 - Small Game Hunter

            I'm sure you could [ . . . ] them for less than 1000 quid each though.

  4. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Pint

    Me next

    If he pays off my mortgage, that would be equally impressive.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    One up on the US

    "parents proudly holding vaccination cards showing that their children were protected from deadly diseases"

    Sure won't find *that* in America... home of the wacko uneducated anti-science Christian fundies.

    I know... I have to put up with them every day here in the Deep South.

    1. Turtle

      @Gene Cash

      "'parents proudly holding vaccination cards showing that their children were protected from deadly diseases'. Sure won't find *that* in America... home of the wacko uneducated anti-science Christian fundies."

      The anti-vaxxers and the Christian fundamentalists are two different groups of people (with of course some overlap) and the viewpoints these groups espouse are not related and grow from different roots. And neither group is representative of the 300+ million people who live here. So really, you can apply your term "wacko uneducated" to yourself first of all.

      Jenny McCarthy: Christian Fundamentalist. You don't see anything wrong with that picture? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_McCarthy )

      I'd also like to know where you got statistics showing that vaccine-refusal is more prevalent in the US than in the UK and how much more prevalent it actually is - because it is far from unknown there. How prevalent does vaccine-refusal have to be in the UK before we can label the whole population "wacko uneducated anti-science chavs"?

      I understand that it might feel good to bash the US and Christian fundamentalists, but it makes you look like an ignorant propagandist with no concern for - or acquaintance with - facts.

      1. Mike Smith
        Facepalm

        Re: @Gene Cash

        Possibly, but I certainly don't see anything wrong with this one:

        Jenny McCarthy: Pumpkin Positive.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: @Gene Cash

        You obviously don't watch The Daily Show or Colbert, some of the stuff on Fox is unbelievable, not because it's not true but because one just can't believe they would say those things knowing people with brains might record it to laugh at later (and probably will).

      3. Mike Taylor

        MMR vaccination rates in the UK

        Last figures I saw were for 2008-2009, where MMR coverage was 85% in the UK. It will have increased after last year's measles outbreak. Prior to Wakefield, it was 90+%. 2003 was the bottom with 80%

        But that's not for all vaccines

        http://www.researchtrends.com/issue-34-september-2013/the-peculiar-persistence-of-medical-myths-how-to-counter-and-discourage-misinformation/

        There may be more data here: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB00220

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One up on the US

      It's not just some religious who are anti-vaccination, there are vaccination fears (usually about specific vaccines) in all countries, it crosses educational level, religion and socio-economic class. The only thing it doesn't usually cross is scientifically educated - as diverse from pro/anti science.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mumps!

    Friend of mine is currently going through mumps. Very unpleasant.

    His parents were fine vaccinating their livestock. Just didn't think vaccination was appropriate for their children....

    Greetings from Norfolk.

    1. FartingHippo
      Megaphone

      Re: Mumps!

      Fools.

      Ignorant, selfish, fools who are fucking up herd immunity for the rest of us, as well as putting their own children at risk. Universities, schools and nurseries should exclude anyone without the recommended vaccinations (unless there's a genuine medical reason for it).

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Mumps!

        Why would you exclude them when everyone else is immunised?

        1. FartingHippo

          @JDX

          Assuming you're not trying to be a smart-arse:

          1. Immunisations are not 100% effective

          2. There are some people who can't be immunised (often related to other serious health issues which are not improved by a dose of measles)

          3. Children often have infant siblings who are there at pick-up/drop-off and who are too young to be immunised and are also very vulnerable

          4. It sends a very clear message of the expectations of society

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mumps!

          "Why would you exclude them when everyone else is immunised?"

          I think it was a typo.

        3. Hollerith 1

          Re: Mumps!

          Because if you keep relying on someone else to ensure that the majority are vaccinated, you are helping to ensure that there will be no majority. Like relying on the decency of others to obey the rules of the road while you race about like an idiot--heck, those nice people will ensure you are safe!

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Mumps!

            In which case it should be the law you have to be immunised. Saying schools should be allowed to exclude people for entirely legal decisions is idiotic.

      2. FartingHippo

        Re: Mumps!

        And, no, homeopathy-lovers, I am not a "shill" for "big pharma"', nor am I interested in your pathetic anecdote or discredited study.

  7. TheTick
    Thumb Up

    Private vs State charity

    This is a nicely timed article as I was wondering recently exactly how much Bill Gates spent to eradicate polio in India compared to the £16 billion-odd the UK takes from it's people and unborn children every year and spends on "International Development". I can't think of anything so significant that our aid money has achieved, and you can be pretty sure if there was the politicians would have blown the trumpets to the high heavens to tell us about it...

    This is a sterling example of why the state should not take it upon itself to be the conscience of the country. Just leave our money in our pockets and we will support charities far better than they will!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Private vs State charity

      UK overseas aid this year is about £11.3 billion (not £16bn). This is the first decent looking link I came across: Grauniad link.

      That figure looks about right, as the idea was to hit the targe of 0.7% of GDP this year. UK GDP is around £1.5 trillion a year, so 0.7% of that is about £11bn. From memory that comes to about 1.5% of total government spending.

      Oddly international aid can also include things like supporting asylum seekers in the UK. So there's obvoiusly some bulking out of this figure to meet the 0.7% target - but I've no idea how much that comes to.

      Another thing it does inlcude is contributions to the WHO, who participated in the vaccination program in India (along with Bill G). Along with lots of global diaster relief, which might not achieve any nice long-term targets, but does hopefully save lots of lives.

      Of course governents are also good at wasting money. And sometimes the purpose of giving international aid is political / diplomatic, rather than humanitarian. We are one of the founder members of the UN for example, and although that organisation has been responsible for quite a lot of money wasting itself, it's also been very useful in brokering quite a lot of ceasefires and peace agreements, given us the WHO the UN Food Program and so on. So our international aid isn't all wasted, some of it got spent on eradicating smallpox, and some on polio, which should be on the way out soon as well.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Private vs State charity

      To be fair, there isn't a breakdown in the article about what proportion of the total amount spent is made up by the Gates Foundation's $225m. It might be, and probably is, a small percentage of the total spend* compared with the amount spent by e.g. WHO, which needs funding from countries such as the UK.

      *$225m isn't going to go far in a country of around 1.3 billion people.

  8. El_Fev

    Too think

    what could have been accomplished if he had of paid his fair share in tax rather than making sure he paid as little as possible

    1. NogginTheNog

      Re: Too think

      He would have funded a few more days of American troops in Iraq, or another few drones, or parties at the White House/Capitol Hill/Pentagon, or whatever else the US government fritters away it's money on (just like ours!).

    2. Ian 7

      Re: Too think

      Sorry, I'm in pedantry mode today. It should be "To think", and "if he HAD paid". Surprisingly, you got the use of "have" correct earlier in your strange little post.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why doesn't he just give Africa all of his money? it's not like he would go poor.

    1. Scott 53

      Er, if he gave away all his money he would then be poor.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Because it would end up in the pockets of people like Mugabe or the various warlords in CAR.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust the Math.

    now he's dealt with the wild polio cases he just need to sort out the 60,000 cases of crippling Non Polio-polio in 2013, ...

    what a mess.

    http://www.npspindia.org/bulletin.pdf

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Trust the Math.

      What?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    India is proud of having eradicated Polio

    And I see the occasional article to that effect in my [Indian] newspapers. I don't recall any big mention of Mr Gates, though. Is India being unfair on him, or did he play a smaller part than he likes to think?

    (Or... maybe I'm just reading the wrong newspapers)

    1. ian 22

      Re: India is proud of having eradicated Polio

      What with the current tension with the Yanks, perhaps Indian newspapers consider it politically inappropriate to praise a Yank.

  12. Jim O'Reilly
    Pint

    A job well done!

    Thank you, Bill and Melissa!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony

    Exposes billions to viruses (through Windows) and tries to eradicate a virus or two from a few millions.

  14. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Well done dude!

    It don't matter if one is super rich (see pain mail above) or super poor.

    You seemed to have grasped an important consequence of being alive and being mortal.

    Is there any chance you (meaning Mr G this time) might be able to come over to dear old blighty and sort out some of the issues we have here?

    Please be aware that some of our snobs are really quite influential and sort of important.

    Background research: any Blackadder series you can get a hold of.

    Each individual series is based on fact and the overall impression of all is quite a good reflection of life in UK.

    If you (meaning Mr G) feel up to it please get here soonest (our poor need you more than their political representatives and "pubic" servants (sorry typo meant "public" bit can't really tell the diffrence now)) but fully understand if your diary shows fully booked for the next few years (I had a diary that did that in Windows too)

  15. phy445

    The Gates Foundation

    Declaration of interests: Some of my research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-on the water side rather than the vaccination side

    Top marks to the anti polio team at the foundation and the other NGOs that have made this possible. Hopefully this will help improve trust in the places where it is proving difficult to get the vaccination programmes going.

    I also hope that some of the commentards above will take the trouble to find out about the work of the foundation. Once they have done that then hopefully they will find out a bit about population growth which is currently been driven by better health care which means that we have more over fifties than ever before, not by the birth rate (which on average is about two children per family)

  16. linicks

    Nobody here really looks.

    Bill Gates & co. foundation are all funding their own companies they have shares in.

    So, the cure is to fund *cheaper* drugs and medical help through these proxies that the other cartels can't compete with. The good (clever?) idea is that as it is a charity it is all offset from tax, and as the Gates family own most of whom they donate money to, it all comes back as profits.

    Now, whether this makes him a saviour or a demon doesn't matter.

    He just gets richer out of it.

    Nick

    P.S. for example, if they donated 10 billion tons of water to Africa during a drought, it wouldn't BUY that amount, but *donate* the money to a certain company that could under price a.n.other company trying to help

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even more impressive than TIFKAM?

    Surely not. And just you wait for Windows Threadbare (or whatever the next disaster's known as)

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good for them

    I went to school with kids who were Polio victims.

    I remember my Sabin dose, best tasting medicine ever.

    Vaccines are one of man's greatest discoveries.

    Anti-vaxers and religious nutjobs need to be targeted and eradicated next.

  19. john 103
    Happy

    Gates vs Jobs

    One will be remembered for eradicating Polio

    The other for wearing black Polo necks

    (And being a See You Next Tuesday to everyone)

  20. PghMike

    For the first time, I don't feel quite so bad for having bought Office 2011.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not all hearts and flowers.

    Pakistani clerics have refused to allow their flocks to accept vaccinations from outsiders. Why? They are afraid that the vaccinations will cause women to become sterile. As a consequence, polio is now enjoying a bit of a comeback and is much deadlier than it was in the past.

    http://www.clarionproject.org/news/pakistani-jihadis-transferring-new-strain-polio-syria

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