Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan imposed states of emergency in three states Wednesday, promising to send more soldiers to the northeast to put down a growing threat from militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram group and an offshoot, Ansaru.
Some critics say that ending polio has become Bill Gates' "white whale."
Why not just settle for the huge drop in polio cases that we've seen over the past decade and then spend money on other things that kill so many more kids, like diarrhea and malnutrition?
"Polio is special," Gates tells NPR's Robert Siegel on All Things Considered. "Once you get it done, you save $2 billion a year that will be applied to those other activities. There's no better deal economically to getting to zero."
Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.
A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.
If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:30 pm
Credit Craig Ruttle / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chinua Achebe, the prominent Nigerian novelist and essayist who died on Thursday, said in a 1994 interview with the Paris Review, "There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."