Bill Gates: We can eradicate malaria in our lifetimes
It was a packed house last night, as the best and brightest in the public health world poured into a New Orleans conference hall to hear one of the world’s most prolific philanthropists share his vision for the future of global health.
As Bill Gates joked, he was eager to finally have a captive audience for his thoughts on some of the world’s most pervasive diseases, as he typically bores dinner party guests with his excitement over discussing topics such as dengue fever, polio and malaria.
During his keynote speech at the Association of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Gates focused his remarks on Ebola and malaria. He spoke to the lessons the global health community can take from the Ebola crisis, and how it can serve to educate and strengthen our response to other public health issues. He spent the bulk of his speech talking about malaria, and urging the gathered group of the world’s premier scientists and doctors to embrace the idea of malaria eradication in our lifetimes. He also announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be increasing its already substantial financial commitment to fighting malaria by 30 percent.
Gates laid out the elements of a new strategy to achieve the ambitious goal of eradication, including fostering innovation in the surveillance and research & development arenas, as well as continued investment in malaria control efforts as we concurrently set our longer term vision on eradication.
You can read more on the new plan here. It is not an easy task, but with a shared vision and energy in the global health community, it is possible. His closing statement, which drew a standing ovation, echoed the sentiment that malaria eradication is within our grasp: “I’m optimistic we’ll get there faster than the skeptics think.”