Bill Gates Combats Epidemics


Former Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced on Sunday that he will donate $500 million through his foundation to combat malaria and other epidemics. This amount is on top of $50 million already pledged to the fight against Ebola.

According to the billionaire, Ebola has once again shown that in today’s world, challenges towards health are everywhere and must be stopped. The ideal way to beat these challenges is to reduce the global level of infectious diseases and with additional funds, the world could see an end to these horrible diseases.

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative will receive more than $150 million of the donation. PATH is a worldwide vaccine development program that was founded with a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in 1999. Another $60 million will be donated to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a program that combats sicknesses, including Filarial disease and pediatric HIV, through searches for medicines. $29 million will go towards the fight against malaria in southeastern Asia and southern Africa by the Clinton Health Access Initiative. $49 million will go to vaccine research for the bacterial cause of diarrhea.

In September, the Microsoft co-founder pledged $50 million to the fight against Ebola. Gates has joined fellow tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Allen to fight Ebola. Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, donated $25 million and Allen, Gate’s partner at the start of Microsoft, donated $100 million to combat the Ebola epidemic.

After making the announcement of the donation on Sunday, Gates posted in a blog that he addressed the crisis that is Ebola, but is focused on malaria, another killer disease. The billionaire boosted his foundation budget to battle and research malaria by 30 percent each year. This brought the foundations malaria fund to over $200 million. He believes that malaria could be eradicated globally in his lifetime.

He continued to say in a statement that the world must be committed to the eradication of malaria and the world must end it forever and not take small steps. It was apparent to all who were present at the earlier announcement of the donation and those who read the statement later that Gates is focused on ending malaria now.

The Gates have faced malaria before. In 2007 the billionaire first told of his goal to eradicate the disease. Advances in tracking technology, diagnostic tools, vaccines and treatments looked promising and made the goal realistic.

In the last 15 years, the Gates Foundation has given $30 billion away, mainly to health causes and education. Currently, the foundation is fighting polio in three different countries that the disease is still a problem.

At $81.6 billion, the 59-year-old Gates is the richest man in the world. The Gates Foundation’s endowment is currently at $40 billion and growing. The billionaire has pledged that 95 percent of his money will be given away in philanthropists efforts and with that wealth, the ongoing combat against these epidemics and diseases may not last long at all. Gates wants to see these diseases disappear faster than the old Microsoft Office mascot Clippy.

By Carl Auer

Huffington Post
Photo by OnInnovation – Flickr License