We Spoke To Bill Gates About Saving 400 Million People From Disease: "All Life Has Equal Value"

Bill Gates, pictured here after his meeting with the French President at the Elysee Presidential Palace back in June 2016. Chesnot/Getty Images

The BMGF and its allies have some unbelievable stats to back their outlook up, best summarized by one simple yet breathtaking metric: More than 122 million children’s lives have been saved since 1990. This is largely thanks to the fact that 86 percent of kids worldwide receive basic vaccination packages these days.

The combined powers of science and philanthropy make for the most practical kind of benevolence there is. Importantly, even the very smallest donation makes a massive difference, especially when it comes to eradicating diseases.

“Anybody – a first-grader – could, with 50 cents, change a person’s life for a year,” Jacobson told us.

“For 50 cents you can treat or prevent seven of these neglected diseases for an entire year,” she added. Do that for a couple of years, and a community will “never have transmission again. It’s gone from the community forever.”

Leprosy still ravages parts of the low-income world, including in parts of Bangladesh. Peter Caton

Once again, the practical, tangible goals of this work comes to the fore. “This isn’t some lofty, crazy goal that no one can be a part of,” she adds. “Everyone can participate in this amazing thing of getting rid of these diseases of poverty. There’s a story in that that we need to share. As a global planet, we need positive things to show we can be part of constructive change.”

Turning to the current US government – one that’s shown a heavy disdain for science, science funding, and overseas aid – Gates, as ever, remained positive, even as Trump aims to slash the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget to historically low levels.

“It’s a budget we count on for all sorts of medical miracles, like curing Alzheimer’s and obesity and all sorts of things,” he said. “I’m hopeful that Congress won’t choose to make that cut; in fact, I’m somewhat optimistic that they won’t.”

He points out that the last bipartisan bill to pass Congress was the 21st Century Cures Act. This included an NIH funding boost, a landmark mental health care reform, and boosts to drug development and administration.

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The primary reason more kids are alive today past their fifth birthday. BMGF

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