Bill Gates is in town. He is expected to launch a special anti-polio drive, among other things.
It is, of course, widely known that the Gates Foundation has a substantial stakeholder interest as a funder of public health programmes here. So, Gates is well aware of the resurgence of polio—including the deadly strain P1—since 2006 largely in Uttar Pradesh, and to a lesser extent in other states, including Delhi.
He would also be aware of experts’criticism of a key flaw in India’s polio eradication programme. As a senior virologist from the Christian Medical College, Vellore, wrote in a recent issue of The Indian Journal of Medical Research, the government’s decision to exclusively use live oral polio vaccine, ignoring the inactivated, injectable polio vaccine, is unscientific. The latter is more effective in Indian conditions, but health minister A. Ramadoss finds it too costly to use. We wonder if Gates was able to ask Ramadoss about this when they met on Tuesday? Or if he plans to ask soon?