Polio left unchecked in Pakistan, Afghanistan can spread to other countries: Bill Gates


Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said that polio “could spread back to other countries” if it’s last reservoirs in Pakistan and Afghanistan were not eradicated.

“Pakistan is starting to take this seriously including the army and the government. They need to do the same things that were done in Nigeria,” he said during an ‘Ask me Anything‘ (AMA) session on social networking site Reddit.

Gates, who founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, has funded polio eradicating campaigns in multiple countries, including in Pakistan.

“Polio eradication is a big focus for me,” Gates said. “Our last case in Africa was six months ago and we are hoping no more show up. It takes over a year to be sure.”

Gates also touched upon the challenge that Pakistan faced in its fight against polio. “The Taliban makes it very difficult. They have killed women going to vaccinate kids many times.”

During the hours-long conversation, Gates touched upon various other topics including his biggest regret. “I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages. I took Latin and Greek in High School and got A’s and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese.”

When a Reddit user asked him what he thought about life-extending and immortality research, the world’s wealthiest man said it seemed “pretty egocentric” of rich people to fund research so that they could live longer “while we still have malaria and TB”.