The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated an extra $150m for the fight against COVID-19.
The foundation revealed this in a tweet shared through its official handle on Wednesday which brings its total commitment to the fight against the coronavirus disease to $250m.
“Today,” the tweet read, “we are committing an additional $150 million to our overall #COVID-19 response bringing our total commitment to more than $250 million.
In a statement on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s website, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mark Suzman described the coronavirus pandemic as a unique situation, assuring that the organization is in a position to help.
“This is a unique situation; we are in a unique position to help,” the statement added.
Suzman explained that “Even in an emergency like this, the starting point for how to use our resources is where it’s always been: Our fundamental belief that all lives have equal value.
“And since we know that epidemics hit the poorest and most vulnerable communities hardest, that’s where our funding is chiefly directed.”
Bill Gates had earlier faulted the United States’ halting of funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) and described the development as dangerous.
“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” the businessman said.
The world, more than ever, needs the WHO which is helping to slow down the spread of COVID-19, according to Gates.
Bill and Melinda Gates have revealed that the core of their foundation’s work is the idea that every person deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive life.
This was revealed in their 2020 Annual Letter titled, “Why We Swing for the Fences: Reflecting on the First Two Decades of Our Foundation.”
The letter according to the couple follows inspiration from advice given to them by Warren Buffett: to “swing for the fences” and put the full force of their efforts and resources behind the big bets that have the most potential to save and improve lives.
In the letter, they also reflected on what they’ve learned over the past two decades and how the world – and their work – has changed during that time.
“At the core of our foundation’s work is the idea that every person deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive life. Twenty years later, despite how much things have changed, that is still our most important driving principle.”
Bill and Melinda also explained why they think the risks they’ve taken in global health and education have set the world up for future progress.
They also wrote about two areas that have emerged as priorities for them – the climate crisis and gender equality – and how they will factor into their work over the next twenty years.
“There is no question that this new decade is beginning at a time of tremendous unrest and uncertainty around the world. But even in a moment as challenging as this one – in fact, especially in a moment like this one – we remain committed to supporting advocates, researchers, government officials, and frontline workers who are making a healthy and productive life possible for more people in more places.”
This includes those who are working tirelessly to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on February 5 committed up to $100 million for the global response to improve detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia; and accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. Bill and Melinda are closely following the outbreak and are committed to contributing to the global response to help bring this epidemic under control.
Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have co-hosted the fourth annual Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards.
The award which took place on Tuesday in New York, celebrates outstanding work around the world that is directly linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
Among those who were awarded was youth activist, Payal Jangid, for her fight against child labor and child marriage in India. She received the Changemaker Award.
The Progress Award was presented to the co-founder and CEO of mPharma, Gregory Rockson, for his work to increase access to high-quality drugs across community pharmacies in five African countries.
The Campaign Award was presented to Aya Chebbi, the first African Union Youth Envoy, for her work promoting youth empowerment, peacebuilding, and non-violent mobilization in Africa.
The Global Goalkeeper Award was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for the progress India is making in improving sanitation through the Swachh Bharat mission.
According to the Bill and Melinda, before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do.
The Goalkeepers is a campaign by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.
Bill and Melinda believe that by sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, they can inspire a new generation of leaders “who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals”.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has launched its third annual Goalkeepers Data Report entitled ‘Examining Inequality 2019’.
The report, which was launched on Tuesday in Seattle, the United States, featured data which indicated continued progress on health and development.
It, however, revealed that global inequality has remained a major barrier to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) of the United Nations.
According to the report, more than 99 per cent of communities have seen an improvement in child mortality and schooling, even in the worst-off parts of low- and low-middle-income countries.
Despite this progress, persistent gaps in opportunity mean that nearly half a billion people – about one in 15 – still do not have access to basic health and education, a statement forwarded to Channels Television noted.
The report noted that gaps between countries, districts, and boys and girls prove that the world’s investments in development were not reaching everyone.
Using new sub-national data, it uncovered the vast inequalities within countries that were masked by averages.
It also uncovered that opportunities for girls were limited by social norms, discriminatory laws and policies, as well as gender-based violence despite the progress recorded in female educational attainment.
“As we write, billions of people are projected to miss the targets that we all agreed represent a decent life,” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in the report which they co-authored.
The duo added, “We believe that seeing where the world is succeeding will inspire leaders to do more, and seeing where the world is falling short will focus their attention.”
A System That Works
To address persistent inequality, the couple Gates called for a new approach to development, targeting the poorest people in the countries and districts that need to make up the most ground.
They also want governments to prioritise primary healthcare to deliver a health system that works for the poorest.
Bill and Melinda Gates stressed the need for digital governance to ensure that governments timely respond to their least-empowered citizens, and more support for farmers to help them adapt to climate change’s worst effects.
The duo, according to the statement, will produce a Goalkeepers Data Report every year through 2030, timing it to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the UN General Assembly.
The report is designed to track progress in achieving the Global Goals, highlight examples of success, and inspire leaders around the world to accelerate their efforts.
Bill and Melinda Gates will also co-host the third annual Goalkeepers events in New York during the UN General Assembly, convening global leaders to celebrate progress in global health and development and highlight the critical importance of closing the global inequality gap to achieve the Global Goals.
The Federal Government has begun the implementation of the agricultural programmes in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates assisted food sufficiency programme.
Farmers in Benue, Kogi and Kaduna states will be trained to develop value chains, food processing and marketing.
A delegation from the Gates Foundation were in Makurdi, the Benue State capital for a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom.
The Head of the delegation, Mr Audu Yerima, hinted that the value chain development, processing and marketing of food items were priority areas in the partnership agreement with the Federal Government.
Governor Ortom, on his part, said his administration was willing to open up the State Agricultural Policy for input and greater efficiency for the growth of the sector.
He asked the Foundation to deploy its expertise knowledge and marketing network, in order to make millionaires out of Benue farmers.
In another development, the state’s Commissioner of Information, Onoja Otokpa, said the Benue State Executive Council has approved the cancellation of the ongoing auctioning of government vehicles and equipment due to fundamental lapses.
The auction was cancelled following a series of reactions that trailed the sale of the government property.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dangote Foundation have met with the Yobe State government to appraise progress of routine immunization in the state.
Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, the Chairman of the Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote and Yobe State Government met on Wednesday to appraise the progress made in the fight against polio and other eight child killer diseases in Yobe State.
The meeting was joined through video feed by Mr Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote both in the United States and Yobe State government in Damaturu, the state capital.
The video feed meeting had in attendance various developmental partners who pledged to give their all in the fight against the nine child killer diseases.
The meeting observed that 15 local governments out of the 17 in Yobe State were effectively covered during the period under review.
It was stated that the remaining local governments; Gujba and Gulani had suffered insurgency greatly and needed to be covered.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote and Yobe State had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in January on strengthening routine immunisation in the security threatened North East state of Nigeria.
The Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, informed the meeting that his administration was committed to the MoU to ensure that the nine child killer diseases are eradicated from the state and Nigeria in general.
He said that the state would ensure full coverage of the ongoing support for the routine immunisation programme through community engagement, particularly the use of traditional rulers.
Mr Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote commended the Yobe State government for the remarkable progress made despite insurgency.
They urged the state government to work towards meeting the 2017 targets of countering all the nine child killer diseases.
Dangote pledged to partner the Yobe State government in the reconstruction of the 22 health facilities destroyed in Gujba and Gulani LGAs of the state by the Boko Haram militants.
The Ondo State Government has flagged of the introduction of the Pneumococal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to combat the spread and occurrence of the pneumonia bacterial infection.
According to the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, the disease which has been discovered to be highly resistant to treatment, kills over 800 thousand children all over the world.
Gathering at the premises of the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, for the flag off of the anti pneumonia vaccine were stakeholders including top government officials, health personnel and nursing mothers.
The introduction of the Pneumococal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), according to Dr. Adeyanju, would help to effectively fight pneumonia which has a strong resistance to treatment with drugs.
Having thrown more light on the vaccine, Dr. Adeyanju added that it would be made readily available in all health institutions across the state.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Mimiko, Dr. Kola Ademujimi, reminded the audience that the state had done a lot in reducing maternal and infant mortality.
He noted that these efforts have received many accolades from development partners which include two time award in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Immunization in Nigeria.
The pneumonia bacterial disease affects mainly children under the age of 5 years and also adults 65 years and above.
The State Deputy Governor, Ali Olanusi, administered the oral vaccine on some of the kids present at the venue to flag off the vaccination.
The fight against polio in the country has received additional boost with an 85million dollars loan facility by the Japanese Government.
At a meeting in Abuja, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji, explained that the loan facility would assist in closing gaps of financial assistance required to achieve zero polio cases in the country.
Speaking about the Japanese Government’s 14 year partnership with the Nigerian Government in the area of polio eradication, he said that the $85 million loan would have preferential interest rate of 0.2% per cent.
“The loan will be utilised for procurement of polio vaccines for children under five years of age,” Mr. Shoji said, adding that this would also have positive impacts on other countries.
“As long as a single child remained infected, children in all countries were at risk of polio”, he said.
Nigeria Country Representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mairo Mandara, said that Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts have experienced notable progress owing to the political support it has enjoyed.
Revealing conditions surrounding the loan, she said: “After Nigeria has executed the loan agreement, the foundation will commit to repay the loan to Japan on behalf of Nigeria if the required immunisation coverage rates are met.”
On his part, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, promised to ensure prompt provision of vaccines to stamp out the scourge.
“The signing of the MOU is an important milestone for the country. It will help us to ensure the availability of vaccines and timely delivery.
“It is my hope that with the loan, polio will be interrupted this year,” Mr. Chukwu said.