Bill Gates on His Foundation’s Health and Education Campaigns
Friday, August 9, 2013
You recently tweeted that very rare clip of FDR being pushed in his wheelchair in 1944. Why did you find that to be a powerful image?
Polio eradication is this amazing effort. We’re raising the money to get it done by 2018. When these problems leave the rich world, they’re out of sight, out of mind. And reminding people of what a big problem it was and how amazingly others responded—which is why we have these tools at all—helps people, saying this can be the second disease to be eradicated.
What are the prospects for the eradication of polio and malaria?
Polio is where we have a very concrete plan. It’s raising $5.5 billion—of which the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation is going to give $1.8 billion. If we get credibility from the polio success, we can be more articulate about a malaria or measles elimination plan. The big one would be malaria, but that’s a long-term, in-my-lifetime-type thing, not imminent.
Can you share experiences in your travels that persuaded you to spend your time and money trying to improve global health?
In the rich world, the death of a child is very rare. This idea that there are places in the world where a quarter of the kids die before the age of 5, that’s very foreign, and it’s very graphic when you go and see all these kids with malaria. You go out in the field, which I get to do two or three times a year, and talk to mothers who’ve had their children die. You’re always reminded that the world you live in is not the average place.