Bill Gates on how better technology will help eradicate Polio

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A few months ago, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg announced their plans to team up in the fight to eradicate polio. The goal is not a new one for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but the Bloomberg team-up will add a 100 million dollar pledge and another big perspective to the plan.

It’s a push they hope will help wipe out the last of the disease.

Via this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the pair discussed the importance of applying the rules of a successful business to the world of philanthropy. They said that by focusing on advancements in mapping and data technologies to find areas where vaccinations are needed, the plan would be a different one than the world had ever seen.

“It reflects a belief in human ingenuity and the ability to overcome even the toughest problems facing the world,” they wrote.

Now, as he prepares for a keynote appearance at a Global Vaccine Summit next week, Gates is again talking about what better technology can do for polio.

All Things D reported on a roundtable interview Gates participated in, where he discussed some of the tech specifics involved in making his and Bloomburg’s polio plan a reality. Gates believes the disease can be eradicated completely by 2018.

billgates111111The Microsoft co-founder, who is also currently the lead investor of Kymeta Corp., talked about there being a lot of room for technological advancement in the fight against polio, and many efforts were already underway — things like producing a vaccine form that didn’t need refrigeration and extending satellite reach and reliability.

He also added that effective vaccination strategies depended on a few things: availability, cost, successful delivery. Of course, in practice these goals are more difficult to accomplish.

“There is an under-investment in general, particularly in doing things for the poorest,” Gates said.

Gates believes that new technology and utilizing data are key to his philanthropic efforts. At the end of January, he published his fifth annual letter and wrote that accurate measurements and clear goals are the keys to improving the lives of poor people around the world. Then in March, he keynoted a SxSWedu and talked about the importance of data for education.

Alisa Reznick is a University of Washington student working as an editorial intern at GeekWire this quarter. Reach her at alisa@geekwire.com or on Twitter @AlisaReznick.