Obama will help improve healthcare in India: Bill Gates

November 5th, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said here Wednesday that Barack Obama, who was elected the 44th president of the US, will help strengthen the global health fund and improve healthcare in India and abroad.“I was not supporting any particular candidate but I am sure Obama will help improve the global health fund. I believe his commitment will improve healthcare in India and abroad,” Gates said.

Issues like polio, AIDS, malaria and pneumonia need global attention and “any one winning US presidency” cannot ignore them, said Gates.

Referring to the economic slowdown in the US, he said: “Even within the challenging budget, the commitment to improve healthcare will not be affected.”

Obama created history Wednesday with a resounding win over rival John McCain, crossing the country’s “colour line” to be elected the country’s first African American president.

Gates is currently in India to discuss several issues related to polio eradication and has already met Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss. He observed surveillance, vaccination, and outbreak response activities in Delhi, visited the family of a young girl who was recently diagnosed with polio, and met Indian health officials and polio experts.

“Being successful in (the fight against) polio is of incredible importance to public health so it is important we do everything possible to accelerate eradication. India has made an impressive commitment to eradicate the disease,” he added.

India is one of the four countries where polio, which affects children below the age of five, is still endemic. Till Oct 31, the country reported 499 cases of polio this year, accounting for 35 percent of the cases reported worldwide.

Last year, the country reported 874 cases, over 90 percent of them from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The Gates foundation has so far committed more than $400 million worldwide to support polio eradication efforts with India among its key recipients. In November last year, the foundation donated $100 million to Rotary India to fight polio.

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