London — Local Afghan Taliban leaders are hindering global efforts to end polio, but Afghanistan and Pakistan must continue their fight to "get to zero" cases, the philanthropist Bill Gates said on Monday. In a telephone interview with Reuters, Gates was optimistic about the global plan to eradicate the paralysing viral disease, but said Afghanistan's conflict and power struggles hampered progress. "The big issue there is always with the Taliban," said Gates, whose multibillion dollar philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the biggest funders of the polio eradication campaign. Polio is a virus that spreads in areas with poor sanitation. It attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. Children younger than five years are the most vulnerable, but polio can be prevented with vaccination. Success in reducing case numbers worldwide has been largely due to intense national and regional immunisation campaigns in babies and ch...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now