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The 2020 Annual letter from Bill and Melinda Gates Credit: Wane

The 2020 Annual Letter from Bill and Melinda Gates: Lessons Learnt.

Every year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation releases an annual letter that summarizes what they have accomplished concerning the set targets by their foundation. And this year, it was exquisite in that, they reflected on the first 20 years of the foundation, specifically writing about the work they’ve done in the fields of health and education.

I recently become a GatesNotes blog reader, and I happened to go through this year’s annual letter. These are the lessons in the form of observations that I learned. I hope you enjoy reading too. Let’s get started.

In the 2020 annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates made reflections in four key areas, namely: global health, education, climate, and gender. They noted that the idea that every person deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive life is the core of the foundation’s work.

For the last two decades, the foundation has focused on improving health around the world and strengthening the public education system. They noted further that philanthropy cannot and should never take the place of governments or the private sector: it has an exquisite role to play in steering progress. The foundation has spent close to $54 billion in the last decade, with 29% of these funds going to global health, 45% of world development, 16% of US programs and other charitable programs taking 10%.

Through collaboration with the WHO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Gavi, created the Vaccine Alliance. It has enabled low-income countries to immunize most of their children against infectious diseases through acquiring low-priced, yet valuable vaccines. To date, an astonishing 86% of the children around the world receive routine immunizations. In 2019, a staggering 760 million children received vaccines as scheduled, preventing 13 million deaths, all courtesy of Gavi. Through Gavi, a vaccine, which used to cost $3.65 now costs less than a dollar. Kudos to Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as their partners.

Another area that has benefited tremendously from the foundation has been that of HIV/AIDS. Through the foundation, the world’s poorest regions have seen the number of deaths from HIV and its complications drop tremendously. Now, a person living with HIV and they’re on medications has a lifespan as good as their counterparts without the infection. It has been possible through the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in 2002, to deliver medicines, technologies, and programs that save lives in countries like Uganda.

Bill and Melinda Gates noted that global health will always be a core focus of the foundation. It will become even more vital in the years to come, as more people become susceptible to diseases due to climate change. Of note also, is the fact that as people become healthier, their lives improve in many different ways, the world becomes better and more equal as a consequence.

Read this article: Placental Malaria: Why the placenta: The Perspective.

Bill and Melinda Gates noted that addressing climate change needs mitigation and adaption to the policies put forth. They affirmed that climate change is bound to mostly affect the people living in the most impoverished regions of the world. Those who survive on subsistence farming, and yet they never contributed to the changes.

They noted that gender inequality is still at alarming levels around the globe. Teenage marriages are rampant in low-income regions of the world. A staggering 20% of girls in the low-resource areas are married off by the time they are 18 years. There’s a need to do more. There’s a dire need to uphold the rights of women. Hillary Clinton once said that human rights are women’s rights: women’s rights are human rights.

I managed to garner the above lessons/ experiences from the 2020 annual letter. You can access the full letter here.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have appreciated a few of the milestones achieved by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

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