China has played key R&D role, says Gates
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has reaffirmed the organization’s partnership with China in healthcare research and development.
The wife of the billionaire Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates pointed out that the country was a “powerful example” in helping to eliminate malaria worldwide.
She made her remarks before the start of a panel discussion organized by the Gates Foundation and Boao Forum for Asia in Beijing last month.
The featured topic was “Innovation and Partnership — An Optimist’s Vision for the Future”.
Gates stressed at the forum the significance of innovation in solving the world’s worst problems such as poverty and disease.
“We are proud to partner China in some of those efforts, including a program called the ‘Grand Challenges’,” she said.
“There are also new global health programs and a drug discovery institute that we are funding along with the Beijing municipal government, as well as Tsinghua University,” she added.
Gates went on to praise China’s progress in combating poverty and fighting diseases through healthcare innovation.
“China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty in one single generation — that’s a stunning statistic,” she said.
“More than three-quarters of the decline in global poverty happened right here,” Gates added.
The development of one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated digital payment ecosystems was another example of Chinese innovation.
This has unlocked unprecedented economic opportunities for hundreds of millions of people across the country.
During her visit to Hunan province in 2008, Gates and the foundation she and her husband founded decided to support research into eradicating tuberculosis in China.
She also recalled how more than 60 million people here suffered from malaria in the 1960s. But that battle was largely won because of new malaria drugs made possible by the brilliant work of Chinese Noble Prize winning chemist Tu Youyou.
Gates went on to talk at length about the role of philanthropists in helping to solve a myriad of issues in the world’s second largest economy.
“They are using their personal wealth to trigger changes that they are passionate about,” she said.
“I got into philanthropy because I believe the world will be better if innovators focus on the biggest problems facing the most people,” she added. “And that’s exactly what China is doing — innovating to improve the lives of billions.”
Alpha Daffae Senkpeni is a journalist working at FrontPage Africa. He is based in Liberia but is visiting China Daily as part of a 10-month China-Africa Press Centre fellowship program.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Foundation