Sandro Rosell, Bill Gates i Ramon Pont en una sala de l'hotel Four Seasons de Nova York. FOTO: FC BARCELONA

On Wednesday, Sandro Rosell and Bill Gates held a private meeting in New York to review the first year of the collaboration between the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and work out the objectives for the future of the alliance, focusing mainly on improving the lives of the most vulnerable boys and girls around the world.

Both foundations signed a collaboration agreement in July 2011 called 'More Than a Goal. End Polio' that sought to raise awareness of the problems with poliomyelitis, a disease that has been 99% eliminated from the planet.

Rosell, a “challenge and honour” to work together

After the meeting, Sandro Rosell said that “in the first year of the alliance we have got the message to many people that polio is a disease that is on the point of being eradicated and it is worth our while to work together to make it disappear for good. For a sports club like Barça, it has been a major challenge to contribute to such a cause and an honour to work together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”.

Poliomyelitis mainly affects children under five. It can be prevented and the administration of the anti-polio vaccine offers protection for life. In 2012, poliomyelitis is only endemic in three countries, compared to 125 in 1988. The three countries are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to change history and put an end to poliomyelitis for good.

United Nations session and present at Global Festival

On Thursday September 27, Sandro Rosell will also be attending a session on polio that forms part of the UN General Assembly, headed by its general secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, who has said that the elimination of poliomyelitis is one of the five main priorities in terms of health for the next five years. The event will also be attended by Bill Gates and representatives of the governments of such countries as Nigeria, Pakistan and Japan.

Likewise, FC Barcelona will also be present, in the form of video messages from FC Barcelona players Thiago and Alves, at the Global Festival, a concert taking place on Saturday September 29 in Central Park, NY, and which involves the collaboration of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event is being organised by the Global Poverty Project, and seeks to raise public awareness of extreme poverty in the world and the importance of eliminating poliomyelitis.