- Steven Erquiza
Bill Gates Plans to Eradicate Malaria & Tuberculosis
Some of the world's wealthiest people are battling against each other, and it has become a rivalry for the ages, the space race. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the two richest men on the planet and CEOs of SpaceX and Blue Origin, have made big plans for the cosmos. They predict internet accessibility from anywhere, including outer space. Humans are an interplanetary species, and we have space stations that people live in.
But Bill Gates has other plans, he has no intention of joining the rivalry, but instead, he has plans here on Earth. While internet constellations like SpaceX's Starlink and Amazon's proposed Project Kuiper want to bring for-profit fixes to the world's pressing connectivity problems, Gates told CNN's Beck Anderson that there are problems that consume his time now.
"The space race, a lot of that is a commercial market. Having great internet connections throughout Africa is a good thing. Using observation satellites to see what's going on with agriculture and climate change. So that's not philanthropically motivated altogether. I do hope that people who are rich will find ways to give their wealth back to society with high impact. Clearly, they've got skills. They can't, or shouldn't, want to consume it all themselves."
"Until we can get rid of malaria and tuberculosis, and all these diseases that are so terrible in poor countries, that's going to be my total focus," he said.
Bill gates' philanthropic ways have already made progress. A Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court has helped eradicate onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, in Niger, the first African country to do so. The disease is transmitted to humans through infected bites from blackflies, and it can cause permanent blindness. According to the World Health Organization, more than 99% of people infected with river blindness live in 31 African countries.
"Having Niger be the first country declared completely eliminated of river blindness, it shows we can get it done for the whole continent." Gates said.
Bill Gates aspires to eradicate polio in 2022. "That's a big, important cause to me. So, if Afghanistan can stay stable, it looks like we'll finally get wild polio down to zero. And we've been working on that for over 20 years." Gates said.
There are many challenges in the world. Gates says that because people worldwide don't see these diseases, initiatives to help cure them are underfunded.
"We really need to invest in the health of Africa, so children survive, so they have good nutrition and that's the future, so they can be well educated and lift up the continent... So we're always going out and saying we want more governments and philanthropists to get involved."
Over 10 years ago, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, and Melinda Gates created the Giving Pledge. 40 of America's wealthiest people make a commitment to give the majority of their wealth to help the world's most pressing problems.