By Caitlin Garlow

Yesterday Bill Gates released his annual letter, highlighting the philanthropic work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Organization and announcing his expectations for continued improvements in global health, agricultural research and U.S. education in the next year. Throughout the letter, Gates reiterated that innovation was the key to achieving their goals of improving the lives of people around the world.

On the theme of improving global health, Gates reaffirmed his commitment to vaccines and polio eradication, two issues that are near and dear to the hearts of those at the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Gates said, “When Melinda and I started this work more than a decade ago, we were inspired by the conviction that ‘all lives have equal value.’ So one of the first things we invested in was vaccines, which protect all children who receive them, no matter how rich or poor they may be.”

He praised India for reaching its first “milestone” of a year without polio, but continued to press for improvements in eradication campaigns in Nigeria, Chad, Afghanistan and other countries where the disease still persists.

Despite challenges, Gates held true to his ever-optimistic tone about the progress that can be made. The Sabin Vaccine Institute is glad to be able to continue to work with Gates Foundation in 2012 on projects that improve the lives of the world’s poorest people, notably through elimination of neglected tropical diseases.

To read the full letter, click here.