Bill Gates on Improving Global Health

Bill Gates on Improving Global Health

by Yash Saboo April 24 2018, 5:07 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 2 secs

Bill Gates has spent much of the past decade trying to improve healthcare around the world through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He spoke about the progress that has been made, as well as the work that remains to be done, during his speech at the Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Gates said that driving progress in healthcare had been his full-time job for the past eight years. He acknowledged that there has been notable progress in healthcare around the world, but he also said we're far from achieving global health equity, a state in which “lives everywhere are treated as having equal value”.

Source : CNBC

Since 1983, J.P. Morgan has hosted an annual healthcare conference to unite industry leaders, fast-companies, innovative technology creators and people willing to invest in these technologies. Though the company is known for being a global leader in financial services, J.P. Morgan has made global health a priority by donating nearly $200 million a year to non-profits globally, leading volunteer services and using its access to capital to help local communities suffering from poverty.

At the conference, Gates’ speech was the most highly attended event thus far. His speech highlighted the importance of bringing healthcare to the world's most disadvantaged peoples and forming partnerships between philanthropy and industry to solve pressing global health issues in both developing and developed nations. Initially, he pointed out how global health has been the focus of his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for the last eight years. He explained how child mortality has decreased by 50 percent since 1990 and credited new vaccines to reducing deaths due to rotavirus, pneumonia, and malaria. HIV is no longer a certain death sentence. Many of the so-called neglected diseases that affect a billion people every year aren’t neglected anymore.

Afterward, he expressed the need for more innovation, explaining how funding research is the most elementary step in improving global health. He mentioned the current gap between the tools that are currently available to eliminate stubborn diseases and poverty and the tools that are needed, explaining that the only solution is innovation. He emphasized how “the tools and discoveries companies are working on can also lead to breakthrough solutions that save millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries”.

He concluded his speech by emphasizing the need for more research into preterm births, as they account for half of the new-born deaths. It has also become clear that a child’s nutrition and the microbiome in their stomach, or rather the interactions between the two, are the largest factor in determining the child’s survival rate. The best solution to this is ensuring that children have the proper ratio of microbes in their stomach, a problem Gates and his partners have started to tackle.

"We can imagine a world in which Malaria has been eradicated," Gates said. "We can imagine a world in which Tuberculosis isn't killing a million and a half people a year." He added that he saw a cure for HIV as possible.

Gates said that although the last 25 years have been great for global health, he believed that with added resources, the same amount of progress could be made in the next 15 years.

"Achieving health equity in our lifetime, it's not just a possibility," said Gates. "It's almost an imperative, because everyone deserves a chance to live a healthy and productive life."

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Bill Gates is doing as an individual (which is clearly more hard work than us citizens collectively). Way to go, Bill!

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