One of the most remarkable stories was of the so-called who empower local communities to effect real change.
In practice, this means mobilising children in Kolkata, India, to go door-to-door with home-made megaphones, mobile phone technology and GPS maps, encouraging neighbours to avail of polio vaccination programmes.
The result? Around 40% of children had visited the vaccination centre prior to the launch of the programme. That has risen to 80% and activists are hoping to get close to 100% vaccine-uptake rates in the years to come.
India is one of four countries where in some areas polio is still endemic. However, earlier this year, India celebrated one year ‘polio-free’ and local officials and international agencies are optimistic that this progress can be sustained – and maybe even used as a template elsewhere.
WATCH: The Revolutionary Optimists | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
What is TED?
TED began in 1984 as a conference devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. These days it has grown into a global phenomenon, attracting renowned speakers and spawning a plethora of spin-off events across the world.
Bill Gates has himself given majors presentations at a TED event on malaria, and World Health Organization polio expert Dr Bruce Aylward delivered a landmark talk on the global drive to beat polio.