Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation renews commitment to global health funds

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-17 23:33:18|Editor: yan
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NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to invest in major global health funds, which have helped make the world "dramatically healthier" in the past decades, said the Gates, who are the co-chairs, on Wednesday.

Under-five mortality rates have declined by more than 50 percent since 1990, and deaths from infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and measles have halved over the period, which have contributed to "nearly 100 percent in the overall decline in mortality in poor countries," Melinda Gates told the press in a conference call.

"Global health funds are behind a lot of this progress," she said.

"The data has been really striking to us about these investments ... The human and economic benefits of this are just enormous," she added.

"This incredible return on investment is why we're committed to funding these mechanisms in the future," she said.

Founded by the Gates couple in 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States. Over the years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars in international health funds including the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Gavi, which focuses on childhood vaccines, and the Global Financing Facility for maternal and child health, according to the foundation.

These institutions have tackled a series of challenges to get the prices down and the supply reliable, and to deliver to some of the "toughest places" such as war-torn countries, said Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

"Each of these organizations has been through changes in terms of how they build partnerships, how they make sure none of the money goes astray by some corruption somewhere in that delivery chain. It's been really fantastic," he added.

Bill Gates said the next 18 months or so will be critical for the global health funds as they might be affected "by domestic issues" of the rich world.

But Melinda said the Gates remain "optimists" and believe they can see "even greater impact in the years ahead with these funds."