Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates plans to spend his fortune for the eradication of poliomyelitis, a viral disease that has taken a countless number of lives.
Worth an estimated $65 billion, Bill Gates, 57, a college dropout, says he wants to do more for others and sees this as one way of giving back to the world that made him so successful.
“I’m certainly well taken care of in terms of food and clothes,” Bill Gates told the Telegraph in London.
“Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.”
Bill Gates will deliver the BBC’s Dimbleby Lecture later this month, using the value of young human beings as his central theme.
In that speech Bill Gates will talk about every child having the right to a healthy and productive life. He will also explain how technology and innovation can help the world reach that goal.
So far Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, 48, have given away $28 billion of their fortune through their charitable foundation, with more than $8 billion of it to improving global health.
“My wife and I had a long dialogue about how we were going to take the wealth that we’re lucky enough to have and give it back in a way that’s most impactful to the world,” Bill Gates told the Telegraph’s Neil Tweedie.
“We’re focused on the help of the poorest in the world, which really drives you into vaccination. You can actually take a disease and get rid of it altogether, like we are doing with polio.”
Some 12 million children under the age of five died ten years ago in 1992, while in 2011 the number of child deaths was just under seven million, or 19,000 per day, according to statistics from the United Nations.
The leading causes of death are pneumonia at 18%, pre-birth complications at 14%, diarrhoea at 11%, complications during birth at nine per cent and malaria at 7%.
A September report from the United Nations Children’s Fund stated that four-fifths of “under-five deaths” in 2011 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
“Given the prospect that these regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa, will account for the bulk of the world’s births in the next years, we must give new impetus to the global momentum to reduce under-five deaths,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the report.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will spend another $1.8 billion in the next six years to accomplish the couple’s goal.
“All you need is over 90% of children to have the vaccine drop three times and the disease stops spreading,” said Bill Gates.
“The number of cases eventually goes to zero.
“When we started, we had over 400,000 children a year being paralyzed and we are now down to under 1,000 cases a year. The great thing about finishing polio is that we’ll have resources to get going on malaria and measles.”