Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $750 million on behalf of the foundation to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Associated Press reports. Gates said the donation, which comes on top of $650 million contributed by the foundation to the fund over the last decade, “is meant to encourage other potential donors,” the AP notes (Heilprin/Jordans, 1/26). According to the Financial Times, the Global Fund “will receive the money within five years, but with the option to draw on the total amount immediately to cover temporary shortfalls in cash from its other donors, most of whom are industrialized nations’ official development agencies” (Jack, 1/26).
“Are we watching the rebirth of the troubled Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, perhaps in a new, more U.S.-flavored guise?” Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley asks in her “Global Health Blog.” She writes, “The Fund has been in the mire now for some time after revelations that some of its grants fell into corrupt hands, short of money and unable to agree new grants to developing countries badly in need of disease-fighting programs,” adding, “But the dramatic events of the past few days suggest the Global Fund’s fortunes might be on the turn as it hits its tenth anniversary.”
“This week marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — the world’s most powerful tool for improving health — at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland,” Natasha Bilimoria, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in this post in the AlertNet “Insight” blog. During an announcement at the WEF on Wednesday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate an additional $750 million to the Global Fund, Bill Gates said, “By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world,” Bilimoria says, writing, “He’s right. … In total, the Global Fund is responsible for saving the lives of roughly 4,400 people every day.”
“The global economic downturn and the euro-zone crisis may stand in the way of efforts to reduce poverty and disease around the world,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Wednesday in a talk at the London School of Economics sponsored by the Global Poverty Project, Bloomberg reports. Gates noted that “‘incredible progress’ had been made toward reducing poverty and disease,” and said, “There are many things going on in terms of the euro-zone crisis, budget cutbacks, that would make it easy to turn inward and actually reduce the financing that has led to so much progress,” according to the news service.
Gates Urges Governments, Wealthy Donors Not To Cut Aid To Poor Countries; Annual Letter Sets Foundation’s Priorities
In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “told European lawmakers in Brussels not to cut aid to poor countries despite the economic and budgetary problems facing” European Union (E.U.) countries, Agence France-Presse reports. Gates “praised the [E.U.] whose support in health and development he said has been greater than that of the United States,” AFP notes (1/24). On Wednesday, Gates “will be at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he plans to exhort wealthy donors — especially governments — to keep funding a range of crucial projects in the developing world, from tuberculosis drugs and antimalaria bed nets to maternal care and vaccines,” the Wall Street Journal writes. Gates “plans to make his case by showcasing ideas, backed by his foundation, that have helped cost-effectively tackle problems in global health,” according to the newspaper (Naik, 1/25).
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof continue to answer readers’ questions in this third and final installment of the series on Kristof’s “On the Ground” blog. Gates and Kristof answer questions about assessing and incorporating the needs of women and children in Bangladesh into development initiatives and discuss the global health activities about which they are most excited and optimistic (1/13).
A Congressional delegation traveling in Africa visited Arusha, Tanzania, on Wednesday “to see first-hand the impact of development projects” funded by the U.S., IPP Media reports, noting that the delegation included Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.). The delegation met with farmers who have used drought- and disease-resistant maize varieties, as well as “visited Ngarenaro Health Centre in Arusha, which receives support from private and U.S. government organizations,” including USAID, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and PEPFAR, the news service writes. According to a press statement, “the delegation also visited Ghana and South Africa, and would meet with the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) officials in Stuttgart, Germany, following their trip to Africa,” IPP notes (1/14).
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on a roundtable held on Thursday and organized by the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health (MLI) — a “five-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation” — at which “U.S. officials, developing country leaders, and heads of non-governmental organizations that do tens of millions of dollars of work in health around the world” discussed country ownership with respect to development aid. According to the blog, “several senior U.S. officials said they were committed to building up country ownership, along with systems that closely monitor spending” (Donnelly, 1/13).
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof continue to answer readers’ questions in this second installment on Kristof’s “On the Ground” blog. Gates and Kristof answer questions about corruption and contraception in Bangladesh, where Gates recently visited, and why more efforts are not being concentrated on children in the U.S. (1/11).
India Marking Health Achievement In Polio-Free Year But Cautious Optimism Remains Among Some Experts
“On Friday, India marks a huge public health milestone — a year since a case of polio was found in the country — a critical step in being declared polio-free and an achievement that many experts long argued was impossible,” the Globe and Mail reports (Nolen, 1/11). “The achievement gives a major morale boost to health advocates and donors who had begun to lose hope of ever defeating the stubborn disease that the world had promised to eradicate by 2000,” the Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes (Nessman, 1/12).