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Gates Calls For Collaboration To Improve Health Worldwide

Armen Hareyan's picture

Product RED -- which benefits the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria -- exemplifies a new kind of"creative capitalism" that could help eradicate poverty worldwide,Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, said on Thursday at the World EconomicForum in Davos,Switzerland, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. "We have to find away to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorerpeople as well," Gates told an audience of corporate executives andpoliticians at the forum, adding, "I like to call this idea creativecapitalism." Gates explained how businesses can expand the reach of marketforces to provide the benefits of science and technology to people worldwide.

Gates at the forum said that the newly launched partnership between Dell, Microsoft and Product RED illustrates this new kind ofcapitalism, the Post-Intelligencer reports (Moore, SeattlePost-Intelligencer, 1/24). Dell and Microsoft earlier this weekannounced that on Friday, they will begin selling two Product RED laptops andone desktop computer that run Microsoft Windows Vista. The companies willprovide the Global Fund with $50 for each laptop sold and $80 for each desktop.The computers were designed in part by Irish musician and Product REDco-founder Bono.

Microsoft said that it expects "several hundred thousand" of the Dellcomputers to be sold in 2008. After the computers go on sale on Jan. 25 in the U.S.,they will be available in 30 additional countries on Jan. 31 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/24).

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According to Gates, RED-branded products have generated about $50 million forthe Global Fund during the last year and a half. "As a result, nearly twomillion people in Africa are receivinglifesaving drugs today," Gates said (Seattle Post-Intelligencer,1/24). He added that the "world is getting better in many crucial ways. Iam an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist. Things are not getting betterfast enough, and they are not getting better for everyone" (Elliott, Guardian, 1/25).

Gates also on Friday announced that his foundation will award $306 million ingrants to fund projects to improve soil quality, milk production, irrigationand seed development in a number of African and Asian countries, AFP/Economic Times reports (AFP/Economic Times,1/25). "If we are serious about ending extreme hunger and poverty aroundthe world, we must be serious about transforming agriculture for small farmers-- most of whom are women," Gates said in a statement (Heim, Seattle Times, 1/25).

Related Report

Business coalitions havebecome highly effective in helping companies address the challenges of HIV/AIDSin the workplace, according to a report released on Thursday by WEF's Global Health Initiative, Xinhuanet reports. The report is the first toexamine global business coalitions and their role in supporting the privatesector to combat HIV/AIDS, Xinhuanet reports. Morethan 40% of business coalitions have launched during the past two years, andmore than 60% have launched during the last five years, according to Xinhuanet.The WEF report includes reviews of different coalition's organizational,governance, membership and financial models. It also outlines best practicesand highlights the challenges in supporting the private sector.

According to the report, four regional and 47 national business coalitions havebeen formed, and when combined, they are helping more than one millioncompanies implement workplace HIV/AIDS programs. The report highlights fivepoints for current and developing coalitions to effectively support businessesin fighting HIV/AIDS:

  • Establish a coalition based on national HIV prevalence and the effect on local businesses;
  • Involve all relevant stakeholders up front;
  • Provide continued private sector engagement and investment;
  • Tailor the business model and services to the changing environment; and
  • Seek to build skills and expertise within the company.

"Byplacing a spotlight on the increasingly important role that business coalitionsare playing in the response to AIDS around the world, we hope that this globalreport will spur further engagement and action by businesses," RichardSamans, managing director at the forum, said, adding, "Business coalitionshelp individual companies respond to the pandemic more effectively throughcollaboration, in particular by providing them with tools and processes thathave been developed and tested in practice by their peers" (Xinhuanet,1/25).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.