Media mogul gives £51m to fight polio

Ted Turner. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Ted Turner. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Media mogul Ted Turner is to give $80 million to a UN foundation to fight childhood polio and measles in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

Mr Turner said in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, yesterday his gift would help further reduce polio rates in Nigeria, home of 150 million people.

The nation had 381 new polio infections at this time last year during an outbreak that saw the disease threaten a belt of sub-Saharan nations.

Previously, some northern Muslim religious leaders spread rumours that the vaccine would sterilise children or infect them with Aids.

Now officials have convinced clerics the vaccine will not harm children. Mr Turner said continuing to vaccinate Nigeria’s children would ensure their health and eradicate the disease from the country. “Working together, I know we can finish the job on polio,” Mr Turner said.

About $60 million will go towards buying additional vaccines for the country, UN Foundation President Timothy Wirth said. The remaining $20 million will go towards efforts to combat measles.

A billionaire philanthropist, Mr Turner is most known for founding CNN in 1980. He joins Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in fighting polio in Nigeria.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $120 million on anti-polio efforts in the country.


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