The Gates Foundation released the 2011 Annual Letter from Bill Gates today, which focuses on the final push to eradicate polio. Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan are the four countries where polio remains a problem, and each of the four also has a high burden for maternal mortality. While polio and maternal health do not necessarily have a great level of overlap, addressing diseases of poverty, such as polio, malaria and other neglected tropical diseases has positive health benefits in general that may have spillover effects to maternal health.
In addition to focusing on polio, the letter does address some other significant health issues that the Gates Foundation will be addressing in the coming year, including maternal and child health:
Melinda has been a strong leader on maternal and child health issues. She gave an especially powerful speech last year to the Women Deliver conference (www.gatesfoundation.org/womendeliver). The plight of mothers and their babies is something she feels deeply, and it’s something we talk about a lot.