Major Show Of Generosity: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Pay Off Nigeria’s $76m Polio Debt
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made plans to pay off the $76 million debt that Nigeria owes Japan for resources used to eradicate polio.
The charitable foundation announced that it will clear off the debt for Nigeria, who is slowly recovering from its recession.
Nigeria took the loan back in 2014, as part of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), provided by the Japanese govt, and payments are set to start this year and will be repaid over a period of 20 years.
According to Quartz Africa, the Gates Foundation had agreed in 2014 to pay off Nigeria’s debt over a 20-year period if the country could achieve “more than 80% vaccination coverage in at least one round each year in very high risk areas across 80% of the country’s local government areas.”
Nigeria successfully completed a full year in 2027 without any reported polio cases.
However, Nigeria has experienced some non-success in the fight to become free from polio.
In Aug. 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) announced the discovery of two cases in the northeast. This is quite understandable since the northeast is currently troubled making it hard for health-workers to access.
The foundation has however recognized the efforts of the country to eradicate the disease. Since 2014, only 10 cases have been confirmed across Nigeria, according to WHO.
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is known for investing in the fight against Polio. In 2017, the Gates Foundation reported that it had spent a total of $3 billion in fighting the ancient disease.
“You might be wondering why we’re spending so much money when there’s only 12 cases,” said Jay Wenger, a medical doctor who leads the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication effort, to CNBC “We want to be sure we finish it off.”
Polio has no cure but it has been shown that it can’t survive in animals and can only live outside of humans for two months.
The only solution so far is widespread vaccination.