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Financial Crisis Affects Health Worldwide

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Bill Gates on Wednesday in New Delhi said that he is concerned the global financial crisis could last two to three years and prompt wealthy nations to reduce spending on health aid for developing countries, Reuters India reports. According to Gates, the world's most impoverished people will suffer most during the economic crisis and a "strong voice" is needed to ensure that they remain a priority.

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"We certainly are concerned that some of the rich world governments could either reduce their increase or even cut back the amount they spend on these issues," Gates said, adding, "We have to admit that getting that generosity gets even more challenging when there's tough economic times."

The U.S. likely will undergo a two-to-three year period of "economic contraction" because of the economic situation, Gates said. He added that he is optimistic about the efforts of President-Elect Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to address global health, saying that Obama has "shown a lot of interest" and would "drive improvements in those areas." Gates is visiting India on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to focus on health issues such as HIV/AIDS and polio eradication (Williams, Reuters India, 11/5).

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