Sunday, May 19, 2013

QOTD: Gates on eradicating polio

Excerpted from an interview with E. Klein:

Ezra Klein: How do you ensure you hit every tiny village in a mountainous, rural, poor country?
Bill Gates: We began using satellite maps and we’re finding particularly in Nigeria we were missing a lot of settlements, a lot of nomadic people. The thing we were missing the most was a village would be on a border, and one government would say, “Oh, that’s on their side,” and the other guy would say, “No, that’s on their side.” So your chance of getting polio was super elevated if you happened to live on the border between these local government administrative boundaries.

Then in terms of the teams doing their job, we now put a phone with a GPS sensor in it, every three minutes it says where this team is. It’s in the box with the vaccine so when they come in at the end of the day we plug that in and see if they really went where they were supposed to go.

Our biggest problems now are violence, which causes campaigns to be canceled, or people just not ... willing to go into various neighborhoods, and refusals having to do with bad rumors about the vaccine campaign. And these are both serious issues in both Pakistan and Nigeria.

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