BY KYLE HILL
You’re probably lucky. You probably don’t have to worry about how clean your water is, if you’ll be able to get vaccinated this year, or if you’ll ever get to see a doctor. You’re lucky, but much of the world isn’t. Many parts of the globe still lack the infrastructure and resources to get on par with modern health care. Bill Gates – Microsoft monolith turned philanthropist – wants to change that.
Ten years ago, Bill and his wife Melinda Gates launched the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. Initially bolstered by 450 million dollars from their nonprofit foundation, this initiative was set up to give a monetary incentive for scientists and researchers to pursue radical or transformative ideas in public health.
“That’s the idea behind Grand Challenges—to focus bright scientists on the problems of the poorest, take some risks, and deliver results,” Gates said in a press release.
Since 2005, the Grand Challenges in Global Health grant program has delivered 458 million dollars to researchers from 33 countries. And these grants have been focused on issues the Gates Foundation believes to be fundamental in bringing the rest of the world up to the medical standard. Of the 16 overarching challenges listed by the foundation, many focus on vaccination — one of if not the most cost effective disease prevention program we have. Grants have been awarded for projects trying to develop needless delivery systems, vaccine formulas that do not require refrigeration, and single-dose vaccines for use shortly after birth.