Gates Foundation Outlines 7 Social Good Initiatives for 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Bill Gates has released his 2011 Annual Letter on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, drawing attention to seven ambitious social good initiatives. Gates stresses the need for renewed investment in foreign aid even as international budgets struggle against cuts and deficits.
Gates positions himself as a representative for the world’s poorest, those who will not have a chance to lobby governments for support, writing: “Whether you believe it a moral imperative or in the rich world’s enlightened self-interest, securing the conditions that will lead to a healthy, prosperous future for everyone is a goal I believe we all share.”
The greatest priority, Gates says, is ending polio. Since hitting its peak in the U.S. in 1952, the number of cases has gone down 99%; now, there are less than 1,500 known cases of polio worldwide. There are just four countries where polio transmission has not been stopped: India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. While these numbers have been dropping, Gates says the majority of outbreaks in 2010 were actually in countries that had been polio-free. The virus travelled back across borders into countries like Tajikistan and Congo.