Bill Gates appeared on popular website Reddit to host an AMA ("Ask Me Anything").
Vaccine man of the moment Bill Gates (see where he appeared on our list of Top 50 Most Influential People in Vaccines) candidly answered a series of questions posed live by the website's community.
As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the discussion of course covered Gates' philanthropy and role in developing vaccines, but also covered his work at Microsoft as well as revealing information about his family life, his interests and his music tastes.
Gates wrote about the value of backing information campaigns on the importance of vaccine campaigns both worldwide and in the US, citing that negative rumours have led to children dying of measles and pertussis. He praised the success of the polio campaign in India and the increase in the Indian health budget, but mentioned that there was still progress to be made in adding certain vaccines to their schedule.
He stated that the greatest achievement of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was saving millions of lives by developing vaccines against rotavirus and pneumonia, and that the next achievement of the foundation is likely to be solving polio. He condemned the violence against vaccinators in Pakistan and Nigeria, but stated that both countries are committed to the eradication programme and should be able to finish by 2018. He spoke about innovations that the programme use, such as satellite maps and GPS tracking to ensure that the teams reach as many villages as possible. He envisions that the last case of polio worldwide will be within the next 6 years. The big targets after that, says Gates, are malaria and measles. He's also going to focus his efforts on HIV and TB vaccines.
Do you think the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are focussing their efforts on the correct issues?
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If you'd like to hear more about strategy and innovation in vaccines, you might be interested in attending the World Vaccine Congress & Expo 2013, 16-18 April 2013, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, Washington DC.