More Than a Goal: End Polio

Jul 28, 2011 | Updated Sep 27, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, I don't spend a whole lot of time following soccer. But as I have traveled around the world to better understand global development and health, I've learned that soccer is truly universal. No matter where I go, that's what kids are playing. That's what people are talking about.

That's why I'm so excited to announce a partnership our foundation is creating with FC Barcelona, one of the greatest clubs in the world. We hope that together we can bring more global attention to the promise of life-saving vaccines and the fight to end polio. FC Barcelona has a long history of being involved in social causes and an enormous global network of fans. We hope that once they learn more about the fight against polio, they'll be just as fanatical about finishing it as they are about Leo Messi.

The facts are simple:

  • Thanks to a 13 cent vaccine and a phenomenal effort led by Rotary International to reach all children with that vaccine, cases of this devastating disease have fallen by 99 percent in the past 20 years.
  • Stopping the fight now is simply not an option. If we don't do the really hard work to eradicate polio now, the disease will come back with a vengeance. Polio anywhere is a threat everywhere.

I can't wait to learn a little more about soccer -- or fútbol -- by spending time with the team at Barça. And I can't wait for them (and there are millions of them) to celebrate with us when the world reaches this global health milestone.

Originally posted on the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He regularly posts his thoughts about the Foundation's work and other projects on his personal web site, The Gates Notes.