China Gets $33 Million From Gates To Fight Tuberculosis

by VR Sreeraman on  May 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Wednesday his charity foundation will donate 33 million dollars to help fight tuberculosis in China.
 China Gets $33 Million From Gates To Fight Tuberculosis
China Gets $33 Million From Gates To Fight Tuberculosis

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work with China's health ministry over the next five years to develop some of the world's most advanced detection and treatment methods for tuberculosis, he said.

"China is taking the threat of TB very seriously and we're excited to support its efforts," Gates said as he announced the partnership at a global conference on tuberculosis organised by the World Health Organisation.

Gates said he had chosen to make the donation because China's efforts in tackling tuberculosis were pioneering and their partnership would have flow-on benefits for the rest of the world.

Gates also pointed to WHO figures showing China had nearly 1.3 million new cases of tuberculosis each year, accounting for about 15 percent of the world's total.

At Wednesday's meeting, WHO director general Margaret Chan warned of the rising threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis and the need to take quick action.

"I urge you to make the right policy decisions with appropriate urgency," Chan said to health ministers and officials from 32 countries and regions.

"At a time of economic downturn, the world simply cannot afford to let a threat of this magnitude, complexity, and cost spiral out of control."

More than half a million new cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis occurred in 2007, with the almost incurable strains now found in 55 countries, according to the WHO.

Health authorities from around the world warned at a meeting in Brazil last month that tens of billions of dollars were needed to combat the growing spread of tuberculosis.

The three-day WHO meeting in Beijing is set to see participants issue a call for action that urges governments and other parties to invest more in tuberculosis medicines and treatments, according to organisers.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made a total of 19.8 billion dollars in grant commitments in various programmes around the world since its inception, according to its website.

Source: AFP

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