Why you should listen
Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist. Since June 1998, he's been working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, directing the effort since February 2006. During the course of his medical training, Dr. Aylward traveled and worked in countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia. Upon joining the World Health Organization in 1992, Dr Aylward worked as a Medical Officer with the Expanded Programme on Immunization, primarily in the areas of measles, neonatal tetanus and hepatitis vaccination, and injection safety. From 1992 to 1997, he worked with national immunization programmes at the field level in the Middle East, Western Pacific, Europe, North Africa and central and southeast Asia.
Aylward has overseen and managed the scale-up of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative between 1997 and 2008, during which time the program expanded to operate in every country of the world, the annual global budget increased to $700 million a year, polio-funded staff deployed by WHO grew to over 3,500 people worldwide, and new monovalent oral poliovirus vaccines were developed for the programme.
He says: "It's been estimated that our investment in smallpox eradication pays off every 26 days."