May 16, 2005 8:51 AM PDT

Gates doubles funding for health initiative

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its contribution to a global health initiative by $250 million, the Microsoft chairman said Monday.

The change means the foundation will more than double the size of its contribution to Grand Challenges in Global Health, bringing its total commitment to $450 million.

The initiative, which was founded in 2003 with a Gates Foundation grant, is jointly administered by the Gates organization and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. The Grand Challenges initiative focuses on 14 major scientific challenges, such as "Prepare vaccines that do not require refrigeration" and "Create a full range of optimal, bioavailable nutrients in a single staple plant species."

Gates spoke about the new funding while addressing the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

"There is a tragic inequity between the health of people in the developed world and the health of those in the rest of the world," Gates said in a statement. "I am here to talk about how the world, working together, can dramatically reduce this inequity."

In his speech, Gates outlined four priorities.

One priority calls on all governments to increase their efforts and contributions to improving global health--and matching that commitment to the scope of the crisis.

Gates also cited the need to direct more research toward fighting illnesses and diseases in developing countries.

Two other areas of priority, he said, include finding a means to deliver tools that address health issues, especially in developing countries, and creating a market that will prompt companies to invest in medical research for developing countries.

The Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of about $28 billion, focuses on global health as one of four priorities. Last December, the foundation distributed a $42.5 million grant for the study of synthetic biology to three institutions: the University of California, Berkeley; the Institute for OneWorld Health; and upstart Amyris Biotechnologies.

The foundation's three other priorities are education, public libraries, and support for at-risk families in Washington state and Oregon.

4 comments

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Get him, fallas!
Must. Be. Stopped.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
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What about the ones here in the US?
Lets take a look at what's here first and solve those issues.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Does anyone really believe Gates cares?
This is just pure tax-deductable PR.

"See everyone I am not evil, I am good. Just ignore the predatory practices, and crappy products my company puts out to keep you all in Microsofts back pocket."

Perhaps if he actually gave more then what he does, and does it quietly, someone with a brain might believe his generosity is legit. Yes, $400+ million is a huge amount of money, but that is like a normal person giving $5, he doesn't even feel it.

Of course, he wouldn't give more then what could help him, because he has an imaginary pissing contest to win(aka richest man in the world contest).

Before some idiot shows up to post drivel about how jealous I am, let me say I am not. I would be beyond embarrassed to hoarde that much money. What a waste. I am certainly not envious of him being the founder and big-cheese of an immoral and incompetant company. That would be embarrassing as well.
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
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Idiotic Drivel, as requested
That is a bit harsh. Have you actually met Bill? Can't you give him the benefit of the doubt?

Assuming that he makes 4 Billion a year, (I don't think he does) 400 million is still 10% of his income. Thus are you are saying that a "normal" person makes $50 a year?

Besides, the whole point of rich people giving money is to set an example and to give him an opportunity to rant about what they think is important.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
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