The new major player on the global health scene is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but is it possible for two people to become a brand of global health? Is the Gates Foundation really providing aid and investment in the best possible way with their power and influence as a global health ‘brand?’
The Gates Foundation has already become one of the top players in global public health. And with last year’s gift from Warren Buffet, the Foundation is set to double its giving this year. Last year the Gates’ invested $1.36 billion in many different areas of public health, from providing childhood immunizations to agricultural research in developing countries. One of the major priorities is HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, with over $350 million given in grants.
In June of 2006, on NPR’s All Things Considered, Thomas Quinn, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, and Gerald Keusch, Associate Dean for Global Health at Boston University’s School of Public Health, answer questions about the practices and abilities of the Gates Foundation. They answer questions such as the Foundation’s role with the WHO and UNAIDS, its ability to make a difference, fears of responsibility and being a private foundation, and what the Foundation can do with its billions. I highly suggest checking out the link.
The two simple core values of the foundation’s work are one, that all lives—no matter where they are being led—have equal value, and two, to whom much is given, much is expected. Great values, with which great hope rests upon. Some people do not have as much hope in the Foundation as much of their practices and investment policies are out of date. I will not attempt to try and voice all of the concerns (check out the entry from‘My social life’ on 16 January 2007 Open Letter to the Gates Foundation). Has the Foundation inherited too many of the corporate practices from Mr. Gates to run effectively? Is the Foundation too big to be accountable to the people?