Melinda Gates, the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, that an extra $150 million was funded from her philanthropic organization to help in the development of treatments, vaccines and public health measures to tackle the new coronavirus outbreak.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO) as “exactly the organization that can deal with this pandemic,” Gates condemned Trump’s recent move to stop the US government’s funding to the health organization.
Gates’ Additional $150 Million Fund
With the additional funds of $150 million, the philanthropic Gates Foundation has donated a sum of $250 million for the international response to the pandemic outbreak. Meanwhile, Gates criticized Trump’s withdrawal of funding to the WHO as a dangerous and nonsensical move in times of global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 disease pandemic.
Gates, who co-chairs the foundation with the billionaire Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates, said in a telephone interview, “De-funding the WHO makes absolutely no sense during a pandemic. We need a globally coordinated response.” US President Donald Trump announced the decision for withdrawal of US grants to the WHO on Tuesday by alleging that the organization had “failed in its basic duty” in allowing the pandemic to spread worldwide. Referring to Trump’s decision “as dangerous as it sounds” Melinda Gates added, “When you’re in a crisis like this, it’s all hands on deck.”
The WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that he regretted Trump’s decision and the organization was examining the impact and would also “try to fill any gaps with partners”. Gates also claimed that any gap left in the WHO’s funding would be very hard for others to fill.
Helping Vulnerable Populations and Countries
Through the latest funding, Gates aimed to help those populations and countries that became vulnerable because of the widespread poverty prompted by the virus outbreak alongside the support for medical research. Gates explained, “We really as a global community needs to address what is now just beginning in African and South Asian countries. We see a huge need, and that’s why we have more than doubled our commitment.”
She also praised local leaders and healthcare workers who had committed “heroic work” in poorer countries to protect vulnerable communities and contain the spread of COVID-19. She claimed that the world’s response to the pandemic “will not be effective unless it is also equitable” adding, “Whenever a health crisis hits like this, it’s the people on the margins that it hits the very most.”
Under the Gates Foundation, as the second-largest donor to the WHO behind the US, Gates said it has been supporting eight projects that seek potential solutions for COVID-19 vaccine development while it has also co-funded a program for the virus detection capacity in Africa as well as contributing to the response in China.
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