The Gates Foundation is determined to find a way to work with the administration, but the Gateses won’t ask the billionaire president to take the “giving pledge” — at least not right away.
Melinda Gates says she and her husband hope to convince the Trump administration of the value of foreign aid.
Speaking Wednesday at a 10th anniversary celebration for the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and in an interview with The Seattle Times, Gates said that while U.S. funding for foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of the federal budget, it has a huge impact on people around the world.
“It’s incredibly important for both humanitarian reasons and for peace and security reasons,” said the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s biggest philanthropy. “I think what you will continue to hear Bill and I saying very vociferously, very publicly, is (that) that less than 1 percent portion of the budget is highly effective.”
Foreign aid can be a powerful tool in promoting global stability, she explained.
“Families don’t necessarily want to uproot from their communities, and they certainly don’t want to go across the high seas in a terrible boat to try to make it to Europe,” she said. “But they are not finding the economic opportunity, they are not having good health where they are.”
Programs like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, created by George W. Bush, have been lifesavers for people in poor countries with high rates of HIV, Gates pointed out.
“I’ve literally met moms and dads who are alive because of PEPFAR and the investments that have been made,” she said.
President Trump has been largely silent on the issue of foreign aid, but his emphasis on “America first” has many in the field concerned.
Gates said she is encouraged by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s background as CEO of ExxonMobil. The oil giant’s foundation funds programs to fight malaria and improve economic opportunities for women around the world.
“I think he understands some of these global health issues,” she said.
Though the Gates Foundation has an endowment that exceeds $30 billion, it takes the kind of money that only governments can muster to mount large-scale efforts to fight poverty and improve health, Gates said.
MONTREAL – The international advocacy organization Global Citizen in support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced that Usher, Half Moon Run, Metric, Grimes, and Charlotte Cardin will headline a free-ticketed concert on Saturday, September 17, at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attending as special guests, the event will celebrate progress in global health and development.
Fans and activists can start earning their tickets by joining the Global Citizen movement at www.globalcitizen.org/canada, where they can take action in support of the Global Fund, a partnership of governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria united to end these epidemics by 2030.
By Elton John and Desmond Tutu
8 June 2016
This week, world leaders are gathering at the United Nations to act on a groundbreaking goal: to make AIDS history. And while the goal is undoubtedly ambitious, it is achievable if we commit the political will and resources to make it happen.
The progress we have already made in the battle to contain AIDS is quite extraordinary. It is evidence of the irresistible power within the human family, when individuals, communities and countries work together to achieve common goals, to make the impossible, possible.
It was just 15 years ago, in 2001, that the United Nations convened the first High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.
At the time, we faced a global nightmare that looked like it would be with us for generations. The horror was palpable. Lifesaving treatment was too expensive for many, and health care systems in many poor countries too weak. Infant mortality was tripling, life expectancy was plummeting, and families, communities, economies and even some countries were teetering on the brink of collapse. Years of hard-won development progress were being wiped out overnight.
Hope and opportunity were scarce, and much-needed action seemed frozen by fear, denial and stigma.
No one knew what to expect at that meeting. Even beginning to turn the tide on AIDS seemed out of reach, but that’s just what the world came together to do.
One-hundred-and-eighty-nine states ratified the U.N. Declaration of Commitment to Fight AIDS. The United States government enacted the $30 billion President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the largest global health initiative in history. Donors and partner governments created the Global Fund for AIDS, TB & Malaria, which has saved 17 million lives by supporting country-driven health care systems.
The results of the world’s commitment have been unprecedented. More than 15.86 million people living with HIV now have access to lifesaving treatment, new HIV infections have been cut by more than one-third for adults and nearly two-thirds for children, and AIDS deaths have dropped by more than 40%. All in all, 30 million new infections and 8 million deaths have been prevented by our work together. It’s hard to beat that kind of real world return on investment.
Moreover, AIDS investments have paid dividends many times over by positively impacting other development priorities like improving health care systems, preparing for other emerging health crises, reducing maternal and infant mortality, and promoting human rights, gender equality, civil society and democracy.
Now, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS has stated, we have the science, the tools and the solidarity to actually end AIDS by 2030.
But our sense of urgency has not subsided and more work lies ahead. Last year alone, over 2 million people became infected with HIV and another million died of AIDS. If we do not pick up our pace and simply continue HIV prevention and treatment services at their current level, our progress will slip backward and the epidemic could again explode. But if we leverage our current momentum and, over the next five years, accelerate our scale-up for the people, places and programs with the greatest impact, we can save millions more lives and billions of dollars.
The world leaders at the 2016 High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS this week have another historic opportunity — this time to pass a political declaration that translates our vision for fast-tracking the end of AIDS into a road map for concerted action. Making this happen will require bold leadership and shared responsibility from heads of state from the north and the south; ministers of health; program implementers; faith, business and foundation leaders; civil society and all the other partners that have helped bring us to this fragile tipping point.
This would surely include the LGBT organizations that some have been trying to keep out of this meeting. In our view, progress is made by bringing people together, not pushing them apart.
We urge leaders from around the globe to be actively engaged in the High Level Meeting and help secure a global compact that commits to: fast-tracking and front-loading investments over the next five years, setting ambitious but doable global prevention and treatment targets that keep us on track, and leaving no one behind by ensuring that human rights remain at the center of the AIDS response, especially among marginalized populations in challenging settings. This is not a time to coast or move on, but to focus and accelerate.
Those on the front lines of this epidemic and their allies around the world know exactly what we need to do and are well on the path to getting it done. But more will and wallet remain essential. Sadly, experience has too often left the African landscape littered with great ideas and good intentions that stopped short of accomplishing their goals. We cannot afford to let our fight against AIDS go down that road. We have come too far, we are too close to the end and there is far too much at stake.
We have the ability and opportunity to save lives and build AIDS-free futures. Let’s seize the day and make AIDS history.
An article by Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
From The Lancet
The world is about to undergo an unprecedented transformation: the largest generation of young people in human history is coming of age. As a mother to teenagers, I have a good idea how this is an important stage of life. Every day, I see how my children’s worlds are expanding beyond our family, exposing them to new experiences and influences. While this inevitably leads to some anxieties, on the whole it is an exciting time as they begin new chapters in their lives. It is a similar story for many young people. But not all. I have also seen from my work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the problems that come with adolescence for those in the poorest parts of the world.
The Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing illuminates for the first time the magnitude of challenges faced by young people aged 10–24 years. This is a dynamic period of cognitive and physical development that can bring opportunity, but also angst and upheaval. Mental disorders commonly emerge at this time, self-harm and suicide spike, and it’s the age when substance use typically starts. Instead of being a time filled with possibility, adolescence can be when the world begins to contract for some young people. It is when they stop going to school, are at risk from HIV infection, or start having babies before they are emotionally or physically ready. All this wasted human potential still happens despite the progress the world has made making my children’s generation the healthiest and most educated ever. So the Lancet Commission is a powerful reminder that there is more to do to meet the unique needs of adolescents. And the compelling findings of the Commission must serve as an important wake-up call to individuals, organisations, and governments to support a new approach.
The stakes are high, so we must respond urgently. Failure to address the distinctive challenges that come with adolescence could not only jeopardise all that has been accomplished so far, it could also severely dent our chances of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health, nutrition, education, gender equality, and food security. But as the Commission makes clear, if we do act, then we will see a triple dividend of benefits: for adolescents now, for them later as adults, and later still for their children. The world is already moving in the right direction. The Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health and the SDGs, both explicitly call out the importance of adolescent health. The Lancet Commission gives us the blueprint we need to move this work forward and forces us to think differently.
Existing systems and structures focus almost exclusively on children or on adults, meaning few investments and interventions are directed specifically to young people. This is an issue that we have recognised at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation’s work on family planning, nutrition, HIV, and maternal health has helped improve adolescent wellbeing—but until recently, only indirectly. As the Commission underlines, investment is needed in an ambitious, comprehensive, and cross-sector agenda focused solely on adolescents, and in line with its key recommendations our foundation is currently exploring three areas where we believe we can help to make a difference.
It starts with filling the knowledge gap around adolescent health. This is especially important for women and girls, where the gaps are pervasive. Youth and adolescence is such a pivotal time of life and yet we know so little about this age group. The Commission rightly identifies indicators that should be collected and monitored. These include early marriage, fertility, nutrition, and non-communicable diseases. Importantly, the information gathered will need to be broken down by sex, age, economic status, and location, to help focus resources where they are most needed. Already, our foundation is learning more by accumulating evidence on the health and wellbeing of people aged 10–14 years. But this step is just the beginning. Gathering data makes the invisible visible, and analysing it helps us discover what works and what doesn’t.
For that, as the Commission points out, it is crucial to involve young people. Too often the global community creates solutions for them rather than with them. This is a generation brimming with energy, ingenuity, leadership potential, and a natural determination to challenge the status quo. By harnessing those qualities and freeing them from social norms that prevent their voices being heard, we can empower young people to drive change. Accordingly, we are beginning to co-invest in initiatives that not only draw on behavioural and cognitive science, use new technologies, and include partnerships with adults, but that also take inspiration and direction from adolescents themselves.
Adolescence and young adulthood is also typically the time that gender roles and stereotypes take hold. With that, come the inequalities that determine the entire trajectory of girls’ lives—for example, in sub-Saharan Africa, young women aged 15–24 years are twice as likely to be living with HIV compared with young men. Addressing such disparities is our foundation’s third area of focus. We are already committed to putting women and girls at the centre of our global health and development agenda, with a specific emphasis on adolescents in family planning and nutrition. Now we are exploring new ways to ensure that women and girls remain a priority as the world gets to work on the SDGs. As part of this, we are looking for big ideas to promote women and girls’ empowerment, and examining policies and laws that make the greatest difference to women’s health and development.
My children’s generation is better equipped to expand the limits of human possibility than any that has gone before. But while responsibility for their health and wellbeing lies with everyone, accountability currently rests with no one. Our foundation strongly supports the Lancet Commission’s call for a global accountability mechanism that can offer independent oversight of a comprehensive adolescent health agenda, with young people at the forefront. For too long adolescents have been the forgotten community of the health and development agenda. We cannot afford to neglect them any longer.
SEATTLE — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., as its next chief executive officer. Currently the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Desmond-Hellmann will assume her role on May 1, 2014.
“We chose Sue because of her scientific knowledge and deep technical expertise on the foundation’s issues, as well as the organizational and leadership skills required to lead a large, growing and dynamic global organization. Sue shares our commitment and passion to create a more equitable world,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation.
“I am honored by the opportunity that Bill and Melinda have extended to me. I’m excited to join such a dynamic and ambitious organization, with such a clear and focused mission—improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable,” said Desmond-Hellmann.
“Sue’s background in public health policy, research and development, and higher education, make her an exceptional fit for this role. She impressed us as an innovator and an outstanding leader and manager,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation.
An oncologist by training, Desmond-Hellmann is a recognized leader on issues of higher education, public health, drug development, regulatory innovation and health policy. She has led UCSF since August 2009, when she became the first woman to serve as the university’s chancellor, overseeing all aspects of the university and medical center’s strategy, academic programs and operations. She has extensive experience in product development, and a deep understanding of how to bridge applied research to delivery of product. Prior to her tenure at UCSF, she was President of Product Development at Genentech, where she led the development and introduction of two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin and Herceptin.
Desmond-Hellmann also served as a member of Genentech’s executive committee, beginning in 1996. She sits on the boards of directors of Procter and Gamble and Facebook, and was previously a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council.
Desmond-Hellmann will take over from Jeff Raikes, who announced his retirement from the foundation in September 2013 after five years at the helm. He was the foundation’s second CEO, and served after a long and successful career as a senior executive at Microsoft.