Melinda French Gates said the issue is personal to her, smiling broadly as she introduced herself as co-founder and co-chair of the foundation , and it was “Nonna,” the grandmother, pointing to her eldest daughter, Jennifer, who was sitting in the audience in New York on Wednesday.
The foundation has pledged $100 million each to health products manufacturer UNITAID and the United Nations reproductive health agency UNFPA to fund access to health care, contraceptives and information in low- and middle-income countries. The Gates Foundation has been a major supporter of UNITAID, donating $50 million annually in 2012 and 2017, according to the foundation’s grant database.
The Goalkeeper Initiative was established in 2017 to track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, agreed by UN member states in 2015. The goals set lofty goals of reducing poverty, improving health and education, and protecting the environment. Progress towards these goals has been seriously off track, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
To reach an audience beyond government officials, experts and policy circles, the foundation hosted a ceremony in New York on Tuesday night and recruited social media influencers, said Blessing Omakwu, director of the Goalkeeper Initiative. People report.
“My goal is for them to go back and take these things that we’re saying in a very policy way and have their followers be able to understand and say, ‘Look, this is important. You should care about maternity. Healthy,” she said.
France’s Gates honors former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter with Lifetime Achievement Awards, in part reflecting Carter’s long-standing commitment to the elimination of dracunculiasis. Singer Bono also received a special award for his years of work advocating for access to health care in developing countries and for his role in launching the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The plan to combat HIV/AIDS was developed by President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress two decades ago and is credited with saving 25 million lives. The program is set to expire at the end of September and its fate is uncertain as Republican lawmakers demand a ban on nongovernmental organizations that use any funds to provide or promote abortion services.
French Gates said on stage that Bill Gates skipped Tuesday’s awards ceremony because he was invited to an event with President Joe Biden. The two announced their divorce in 2021, but promised to continue working together on the foundation.
Speaking about the future of President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief on Wednesday, Bill Gates said the idea that the program would not continue is terrifying, given that it continues to provide life-saving medicines to millions of people around the world.
“Unfortunately, this gets bogged down, at least temporarily, in the question of, ‘Is the United States reaching out to the world and helping the world?'” — some of the controversy. I think we’re going to get over this because America has a lot to be proud of in this regard,” Gates said.
Gates also made the case for a series of interventions to prevent children from dying in their first year of life, which he said is one of the foundation’s top priorities. He spoke emotionally of a visit to a clinic in South Africa, where doctors asked the mother of a child who died that day if she would allow them to try to determine more specifically how the baby died as part of an investigation. Larger study. Overall, the results of this foundation-funded study add to our understanding of the causes of infant death.
The foundation also recognized leaders of projects they said embody the goals of development goals, including Eden Tadesse from Ethiopia, who designed a platform to provide employment opportunities for refugees, as well as Aidan Reilly, Ben Collier and James Kanoff , they launched a project to deliver vegetables and produce that would otherwise be thrown away at food banks in the United States
Laureate Ashu Martha Agbornyenty, a midwife from Cameroon, called the Foundation’s recognition of her work a win for those who study to be midwives and for women’s health in Cameroon.
“Everyone around me said, ‘There’s nothing to do with midwifery. Midwifery is just a layman’s profession. Midwifery has no future. But I’m here in New York today, and it’s a victory,” she said while standing on the red carpet.
The Gates Foundation is not the only foundation to announce new commitments to support development goals. On Tuesday, the IKEA Foundation committed $20 million to help workers and communities in Vietnam, South Africa and Indonesia who may lose their jobs as they transition to renewable energy. The Rockefeller Foundation announced last week that it would focus 75% of its resources over five years on so-called climate solutions in energy, health, agriculture and finance, pledging $1 billion in grants. The Clinton Global Initiative announced that gender equality will now be a pillar of its work.
Last year, the Gates Foundation focused on hunger and strongly supported crops designed to adapt to climate change and resist agricultural pests, but these initiatives have been criticized by agricultural groups and researchers who believe that they conflict with global efforts to protect the environment. .
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