Monday, 9 April 2012

The philanthropy of Gates

The Gates Foundation is known for philanthropy, even in respect of a Cinderella cause like eradicating smoking.

It has achieved (with the help of other agencies including Unicef, Rotary, and the World Health Organisation) the eradication of polio in India.

Or has it? It depends who you read. So far unreported by the BBC,
... the real story is that while polio has statistically disappeared from India, there has been a huge spike in cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP)– the very types of crippling problems it was hoped would disappear with polio but which have instead flourished from a new cause. 
There were 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis reported in 2011, the same year India was declared “polio-free,” according to Dr. Vashisht and Dr. Puliyel. Further, the available data shows that the incidents tracked back to areas were doses of the polio vaccine were frequently administered. The national rate of NPAFP [non-polio acute flaccid paralysis] in India is 25–35 times the international average.
India is a large country whose population exceeds one billion, but 47,500 is a considerable number of casualties, especially when there is a clear correlation with the vaccination.

The Gates Foundation and WHO have come under criticism for their claim that polio has been eradicated. The polio virus has been synthesized in a test tube and now the wide incidence of non-polio paralysis make the eradication of polio impossible for the foreseeable future. They are also rebuked for persuading India to invest in a vaccination programme costing $2.5 billion: donor support amounted to just $2 million.

Readers must decide for themselves. But it appears to me that Gates and the WHO have a mission to govern the globe under the guise of philanthropic intervention. Under this guise they can undermine local governance systems, divert local priorities, and cost communities dear in both health and cash terms. From where I am sitting it appears that a spike of 25 to 35 times the expected incidence of non-polio paralysis is too high a correlation to put down to chance, and points to a vaccine that is positively harmful and not fit for use.

To read official news reports, you would think polio eradication was a complete success story. But  not only does this episode not inspire confidence – it should be a public relations disaster, since it is expensive, worse than useless and undermines local decision making and priorities. Indignation is widespread: this piece   – Third World duped on polio eradication – is worth a look. The original study: 'Polio programme: let us declare victory and move on' by Drs Vashisht and Puliyel of St Stephens Hospital, Delhi, is here.

(And if I were a smoker who wanted to quit smoking I wouldn't go to Bill Gates for help either.)

1 comment:

Lou said...


Perfectly correct, however the person who started all this was Ted Turner of CNN fame, followed by Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffet.

Gates and his wife Melinda have managed to get several Internet mega success stories to sign up to pledge 50% of their wealth, with the Facebook lad doing his bit for the camera's.