Dr. Tadataka Tachi Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a featured speaker at the 2010 smallpox eradication symposium being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 24-27. Below, he details how the lessons learned from smallpox eradication can be applied to the elimination of polio.

When I was growing up in Japan, my close friend Keichi Maruyama, who lived right next door to me, was crippled from polio.

Most people today are too young to remember, but it was a disease that struck fear into every family. We knew it could hit home at any time.