Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft expects his foundation to focus almost entirely on the coronavirus pandemic in the near future. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a $40 billion endowment and has been working on world health issues. These include HIV, malaria, and polio eradication.
Gates said the foundation has shifted much of that focus to work on COVID-19.
He said this has the foundation’s total attention. Even non-health related work, like education and K-12 schools, is completely switched around to see how one facilitates online learning.
A Gates Foundation spokesperson said the foundation remains committed to its core areas of focus. This includes reducing infectious disease for world health, eliminating extreme poverty, and improving US public education.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all areas of their work and the ripple effects will be felt for years.
They’ve announced $250 million in funding to date and a commitment to leverage their Strategic Investment Fund toward the pandemic. They are increasingly focusing their expertise and leveraging partnerships toward the urgent efforts needed to end this pandemic.
These are unprecedented times, but they believe that all lives have equal value. They are committed to addressing inequities across all of their work. This belief and commitment remain more critical than ever.
The Gates Foundation already has pledged a total of $250 million. This was to support the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
This was also to help strengthen African and South Asian health systems. Moreover, to help mitigate the social and economic impacts of the virus.
The Foundation Works with the World Health Organization
The Gates Foundation is working with the WHO and other health organizations around the world.
Gates said this emergency has distracted a lot of critical work in many, many areas. As a result, fewer people are able to show up for routine immunization or supply chains for immunization are not working well.
That’s hundreds of thousands of deaths right there. If they can’t keep getting malaria treatments out effectively, that’s a huge rebound in malaria.
Gates has criticized President Trump’s plan to suspend funding for the World Health Organization, earlier this month.
To stop funding for the WHO during a world health crisis is dangerous. Their work slowed the spread of COVID-19 and if that work terminates, no other organization can replace them.
Moreover, the Trump administration will ultimately decide that WHO probably should get more money, not less money, said, Gates.
In 2015, he warned during a TED talk that the world was not ready for a global pandemic. In that talk he also said, the world avoided a global outbreak of Ebola in 2014. Thanks to thousands of selfless health workers.
He suggested putting all our good ideas into practice. That was from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. He also said there’s no need to panic … but we need to get going.
Furthermore, the foundation has been working on world health issues.
Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2000 and left his full-time work in 2008 to focus on his foundation.