A Conversation with Bill Gates: Global Development Opportunities
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Question excerpt from Transcript of Q & A Session with Larry Cohen
One other question that we'll do that we just got in is on Global Fund. The question is "Should we continue supporting The Global Fund, despite recent issues I've heard about?"
Well, Global Fund was created ten years ago completely from scratch, because the world wasn't paying attention and funding the needs of the poorest for three big diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. And the level of generosity of the Global Fund has been amazing.
In those disease areas other than what the U.S. spends on HIV, it is the biggest funder. So it's the biggest bed net buyer. It's the biggest buyer of the drugs that cure you from tuberculosis. And along with this U.S. program called PEPFAR, it's the big funder for HIV medicines. So there's over seven million people alive today, who wouldn't be, because of Global Fund.
So it's hard to beat that, you know? It's not like any new tech start up that I know has saved seven million lives. I mean, it's nice that you can do all these things. But this is something that really improved humanity's situation. Now it's gone through some management changes. It had some grants that it detected, where the training that it had paid for wasn't done. It's put new systems in place for that.
So I was able to announce the confidence I have and the foundation has in this group with the new $750 million grant last week. That shows that we feel, you know, we're tough about getting value for money. And we really see that they are super-efficient and that these are important needs. They've got a really good plan going forward, but because more and more people are getting to the point in their HIV disease that they need these drugs, the question is will the generosity be enough so that we're not turning people away?
And it's very tough, because you have to keep people on the drugs the rest of their life. You don't ever cure, at this point, somebody from having AIDS. So it hangs in the balance. And certainly my voice is strongly out there saying, "This should remain a priority. We should grow this if we can, because for every $300, you can keep somebody on these life-saving drugs for another year."