Authors / Biography

Jay Wenger

Title Director, Polio
Organization Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Jay Wenger leads the foundation’s polio eradication efforts within the Global Development Program. He manages a high-performing team and works across the foundation to drive instrumental advocacy work, resource mobilization, communications, and research and product development. Dr. Wenger represents the foundation both internally and externally and helps to shape and execute the polio eradication strategy.

Prior to joining the foundation Dr. Wenger served as the Associate Director for Science in the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and focused on surveillance and prevention and control programs for invasive bacterial diseases. Jay was formerly detailed to the World Health Organization (WHO) for five years as Project Manager for the National Polio Surveillance Project in collaboration with the Government of India. Prior to working in India, he coordinated the introduction of new vaccines and developed a regional network of WHO medical officers as the Medical Officer and Coordinator for the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction Priority Project with the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) at the WHO. Dr. Wenger received his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and training in epidemiology at the CDC.

Posts By Jay Wenger

Polio Outbreaks: What You Need to Know

In the last week, the World Health Organization confirmed that three children— two in Ukraine and one in Mali— were paralyzed from circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Though the Ukraine and Mali cases are unrelated, the root cause was failure to vaccinate children, leaving large populations of unprotected kids in these areas.

An Urgent Call to Finish the Job and End Polio

Yesterday marked another major milestone in the world’s effort to wipe out polio – a preventable but debilitating and highly infectious disease. To date, major milestones in this effort reflected the progress in reduction of poliovirus transmission directly through facts and figures such as: •Since 1988, the number of new polio cases has dropped more than 99% from 350,000 a year to just over 400 in 2013; and from 125 countries to only 3 where polio transmission has never been stopped •In 2012, the world recorded the lowest number of new polio cases in history •In March of this year, India – once regarded as the hardest place to eliminate polio – was certified polio-free after marking three years without a single wild poliovirus case. •As a result of India’s success, WHO’s South east Asian region (including 11 countries and representing 1.8 billion people) was certified polio-free.

5 Reasons I’m Excited About World Polio Day

To many people around the world, World Polio Day is just another “day”. This year I am genuinely excited about World Polio Day, (and it’s not just because I am the director of the polio program at the foundation). It’s really because I have seen an unprecedented
series of successes, commitment from existing and new donors and signs of progress that give me confidence we can finish the job.