Bill Gates has an “annual letter” he writes every year, so when the man who co-founded Microsoft puts finger to keyboard, you better listen up!
This year’s letter focused on eradicating polio through vaccines, and urged government organizations to keep vaccines on the forefront of their priorities.
“The amazing polio eradication campaign is very close to success,” Gates said. “How tragic that would be if it failed because of lack of generosity.”
Part of that lack of generosity may be a result of governments looking for ways to cut spending, and targeting foreign aid as an easy out. “There’s a history of some aid really making a difference – the aid for vaccines, for new seeds – and that’s the kind of aid, even as deficits are so daunting, I’d like to convince governments to keep as a priority,” said Gates.
Aside from saving lives, Gates highlighted in his letter the other amazing benefits that vaccines offer; from reductions in illness, to assisting the economy of developing countries, to a decrease in overpopulation.
“As the childhood death rate is reduced, within 10 to 20 years this reduction is strongly associated with families choosing to have fewer children,” the letter explained. “While it might seem logical that saving children’s lives will cause overpopulation, the opposite is true. It is the reason why childhood health issues are key to so many other issues, including having resources for education, providing enough jobs, and not destroying the environment.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated over 10 billion dollars to the issue of vaccinations alone, but still more aid is needed to combat this epidemic. For more information on how to help, visit the foundation’s website.