Melinda Gates Announces $1.5 Billion in New Development Funding

June 18, 2010 By Eric Peckham

 width=Last week at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Women Deliver Conference, Melinda Gates announced new funding for maternal and child health improvement in the developing world and urged the United States and other governments to join her in doing so.

In her speech, she declared that over the next 5 years the Foundation will invest $1.5 billion into making childbirth safer and reducing infant mortality. Each year hundreds of thousands of women die from pregnancy-related causes that could have easily been avoided if they had access to basic medical education and resources. Likewise, almost 8 million children under five years of age are expected to die this year alone due to malnutrition and insufficient medical care.

She outlined how the Foundation will support comprehensive, integrated training programs for health workers in the developing world, provide the basic vaccines and other medical resources necessary, promote lifesaving practices that mothers can follow to keep themselves and their children healthy, and expand the availability of voluntary family planning services in poor urban areas. “The Gates Foundation is joining many others in the global health community in working toward a more integrated approach to women’s and children’s health,” she proclaimed. “Women and children have a continuum of needs, and we must design health programs accordingly.”

Mrs. Gates also insisted that governments around the globe prioritize such efforts as well, and work together through the G8 and UN to achieve results that can save millions of lives. “This is a pivotal moment for women’s and children’s health,” she emphasized. “Canada is proposing a bold but achievable plan that can save countless lives – and I hope all G8 members will lend their strong support. The need is urgent and clear.” The G8 Summit will be held next week in Ontario, Canada.