The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have invested several billions of dollars into vaccine initiatives to fight the polio virus.
Bill Gates is encouraging fellow billionaires to do the same.
Gates is concerned about Nigeria and Pakistan because “local conspiracy theories have undermined inoculation drives.”
Gates said: “The truth is the vaccine is to help kids. And spreading rumors and attacking the workers on this – those people don’t have justice and truth on their side. And so we may miss by a year or two if we can’t help out with that. The president, the religious leaders a lot of the supporters of that country are trying to get the truth out.”
In Nigeria and Pakistan the effort has been “intensified” through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Gates said: “I think we’ve got the will. We need — on the ground — to get the truth out.”
In an interview with media, Gates explained: “Capitalism did not eradicate smallpox. It just doesn’t know how. Polio eradication is a work in progress, but it’s not being done by markets. So the childhood death reduction, the nutrition improvements, those are overwhelmingly aid-driven.”
When asked about the BMGF efforts to deal with “overpopulation”, Gates replied: “It’s a huge impediment in convincing rich-world donors that they should feel good about these health improvements. Our foundation focused in the 1990s on reproductive health. We weren’t nearly as big then. But we wanted to make contraception available because we thought population growth would make everything so difficult, whether it’s the environment or feeding kids or stability. It was only when we found out about this phenomenal connection between improved health and reduced population growth that we felt: Great, let’s just make the foundation as big as possible to go after these health problems. Because before then the commonsense thing was more kids would make these problems less tractable.”
Gates continued: “I don’t think people like to say out loud that we want to let these kids die because there are too many of them. But by choosing not to get into health in our early days I was a victim of the myth around overpopulation. But there is just phenomenally good news here. The world’s population will peak. Now, we do have huge population growth in places where we don’t want it, like Yemen and Pakistan and parts of Africa, where we don’t have the resources to really help those people. So we need to get serious about figuring out how to make sure there’s relative health and satisfaction in those places.”
The justification for Gates’ focus on reducing the world’s population was invoked in this comment: “We won’t need to answer the question of how much innovation allows us to support 20 or 30 billion people on the planet. It’s possible some miracle like reinventing photosynthesis could do it. We invest in miracles like that. But the amount of innovation it would take to support 20 billion or more is pretty phenomenal and would likely not show up in time. So the fact that the population will peak is great news. We’ve already had the largest birth cohort — the most children born in a year. We’re past the peak on that. We’ll probably only have to support 10 to 11 billion. Now we still need to raise food production and avoid climate change. And when people get richer we have to worry about things like diabetes. So I’m not saying fulfilling the development agenda makes the world all good. But in terms of injustice and equity, doubling down to finish the development agenda should be the top priority.”
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