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Friday, January 27, 2006

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates gives $600 million more to stop TB

The BBC and Microsoft are reporting that Bill Gates has teamed up with the British and Nigerian governments

The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis has received a $600 million (£337m) boost from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

The campaign, backed by more than 400 organizations worldwide, aims to treat 50 million people in the next 10 years.

Launching the plan with UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Gates said it was a "chance to save 14 million lives".

Mr Gates has already committed $300 million to the program, but the total cost of the plan will be $56 billion over 10 years.

On Thursday, Mr Brown had told parliament that the UK would contribute $75 million (£41.7m) to tackle tuberculosis in India, as part of the new plan to fight the disease.

The program was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"Every 15 seconds somebody dies of TB, avoidably, preventably," said Mr Brown.

Innovations in finding treatments for diseases like TB had to be assisted by finance ministers around the world providing innovative ways of financing such programs, he said.

Mr Brown and Mr Obasanjo pledged to push for making the fight against TB a priority for the G8 group of industrialized countries and the African Union respectively.

"The Global Plan is fundamental for Africa, where tuberculosis was declared an emergency by 46 countries in 2005," Mr Obasanjo said.

Marcus Espinal, in charge of the TB programme of the World Health Organization, predicted that "we will break the back of the global TB epidemic".

With 15 diagnostic tests and 28 new medicines in development, it should be possible to revolutionize the treatment of tuberculosis, shrink treatment time and beat drug resistance, he said.

A tuberculosis vaccine could be developed by 2012, he predicted.

Mr Espinal said it was poignant that the program was launched in Davos, once famous around the world for its TB sanatorium and setting for Thomas Mann's book The Magic Mountain.

The plan aims to implement one of the United Nations' Millennium Goals, which called for a halt in the spread of TB and progress in reducing incidences of the disease by 2015.

The Global Fund hopes to spend about $47 billion on TB treatment and control, and $9 billion on research and development.


At 6:04 PM, Blogger B O B said...

What a great thing to do with some of his pocket change. TB while it has almost disappeared in the United States has been making a come back. I am glad Gates put forth this effort.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Yeah, Bill is quite the philanthopist.
Granted I am a MS kinds guya and am biased in his favor, whatever you may thinkof Gates as a businessman, you can dispute that he aned Melinda are extra generous. I did some reseach on him when writing this and found that he and his wife give BILLIONS every year.

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Charlie said...

I wish we had someone like Bill Gates sort out TB in UK; that is in the cattle population, associated with badgers but unable to cull them because of animal rights activists, meanwhile thousands of cattle are culled without a murmur, at costs in the millions of pounds of compensation.


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