Bill Gates commends India's efforts at polio eradication, HIV/AID

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (UNI) Bill Gates, Chairman of the Microsoft Corporation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, today commended India's efforts to eradicate polio and tackle other public health issues, and gave a categorical assurance that his NGOs will enhance support to the country's health problems, notwithstanding the global slowdown and its impact on American businesses.

"Polio can be successfully eradicated with India leading the way. Being successful in polio is of incredible importance to public health. So it is important we do everything possible to accelerate eradication", Mr Gates said addressing a Press Conference here.

The event was convened to highlight the role Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation would play in future in reducing the incidence of health problems, like polio, HIV and Tobacco Control.

Mr Gates said India is one of the four countries in the world where polio was still endemic.

He said there were many reasons for optimism that India can prevail against polio and the country is pivotal to showing that eradication is possible.

Mr Gates said the global economic slowdown will impact on spending by American businesses, but assured that the NGO headed by him will not reduce spending on health programmes in India. If anything, its scale expanded and operations accelerated.

"Philanthropy becomes easier in a situation where there is no slowdown of economic activity", he said.

He was also hopeful that victory of Mr Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, will not mean any reduction in public health spending and its commitment to support developing countries on health issues.

"Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to provide resources and voice for polio eradication efforts in India and other countries. Over the past year, the foundation has more than doubled its funding for polio eradication", he said.

Mr Gates said in addition to its tremendous vaccination activities, India was pioneering many efforts to improve public health. The recent ban on smoking in public places was a remarkable achievement.

"I am also excited about the potential of the country's scientific community to help develop new solutions to major health challenges, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS,' he said.

He said that he will relinquish most of his work in Microsoft and spend more time on health and education work at the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation.

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