A model for giving, and other news

This week, Forbes published the keynote address Bill Gates gave at the magazine’s summit on philanthropy in June. It’s just one the stories we found fascinating this week.

Bill Gates: my new model for giving

Forbes, September 18, 2012

I am a true believer in the power of capitalism to improve lives. Where the free market is allowed to operate, it is agile and creative. It can meet demand the world over and plays a central role in increasing living standards.

But when my wife, Melinda, and I made our first trip to Africa in 1993, it was really our first encounter with deep poverty, and it had a profound impact on us. Not long after we returned we read that millions of poor children on that continent were dying every year from diseases that, essentially, nobody dies from in this country: measles, malaria, hepatitis B, yellow fever. Rotavirus, a disease I had never even heard of, was killing half a million kids each year—none of them in the U.S.

We assumed that if millions of children were dying, there would be a massive worldwide effort to save them. But we were wrong. While the private sector does a phenomenal job meeting human needs among those who can pay, there are billions of people who have no way to express their needs in ways that matter to markets. Read the article.

Mother in stripes holds baby receiving rotavirus vaccine.

A baby receives rotavirus vaccine in Sudan. Photo: PATH/Doune Porter.

Funding cuts imperil European fight against TB, HIV

Reuters, September 18, 2012

Cuts in global funding for Eastern Europe and Central Asia are undermining the fight against tuberculosis and the AIDS virus, threatening to push already high rates of disease and drug-resistance even higher, experts said on Wednesday. In a report by leading European nongovernmental health organizations, the experts called on the European Union to step in to fill the gaps left by global donors to countries within and neighboring its borders. Read the article.

Seven ways mobile phones have changed lives in Africa

CNN, September 14, 2012

A little over a decade ago there were about 100,000 phone lines in Nigeria, mostly landlines run by the state-owned telecoms behemoth, NITEL. Today NITEL is dead, and Nigeria has close to 100 million mobile phone lines, making it Africa’s largest telecoms market, according to statistics by the Nigerian Communications Commission…Below are seven ways that mobile phones have transformed the continent. Read the article.

Diverse religious leaders affirm contraceptive access as “moral imperative”

Huffington Post, September 13, 2012

There is a picture I’ve seen on the Internet of an elderly woman holding a sign that says, “I can’t believe I’m still protesting for birth control.” As a woman who came of age in the 1970s era of easy birth control availability, neither can I. Surely, almost 50 years since the Griswold decision, I never would have predicted that contraception would once again be controversial. Read the article.

Posted in Family planning, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive health, Tuberculosis | Permalink

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