Mar 6, 2012

2012 Summit opening keynote: Melissa Covelli of the Gates Foundation will speak on polio eradication

We are thrilled to announce that Melissa Covelli will deliver the opening keynote address at the 2012 GlobeMed Summit on the evening of Thursday, April 12. Melissa is a senior communications officer for the Polio Strategy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She will speak about her role in the Gates Foundation’s efforts to eradicate the disease of polio.

Partnership has been at the cornerstone of the Gates Foundation’s approach to accelerate polio eradication efforts. Around the world, the foundation partners with a variety of leaders in government, business, religion, and more. One recent example of an innovative financing partnership was a first-of-a-kind deal between Japan, the Gates foundation, and Pakistan that guarantees an Official Development Assistance loan of approximately $65 million to ensure that polio eradication activities are financed through 2013 in Pakistan.

In a recent piece on the Gates blog, Melissa emphasized the historic opportunity that the global community has in polio eradication:

“…we didn’t let technological challenges stop us on the way to the moon, we set foot on it. It took three decades to tear down the Berlin Wall, but it was torn down. And apartheid wasn’t just dismantled in South Africa – the very symbol against apartheid became president of the country and a leader throughout the world.”

The Gates Foundation supports the milestones and strategies set by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a program leading and coordinating the global health community in polio eradication efforts. Recently, India succeeded in its battle against polio by passing on eyear without any new registered cases of the disease. This success has been credited to a partnership between the government, the WHO, UNICEF, and Rotary International, whose members have contributed more than $1 billion to the global eradication effort. Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria remain as the only three countries in the world with endemic polio.

For more about the Gates Foundation’s efforts in polio eradication, check out their website.

The 2012 GlobeMed Summit will take place on April 12-14 in Evanston, IL.

Written by Jill Shah


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