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Bill Gates donates $750 million to battle AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $750 million into the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The announcement was made this week at the World Economic Forum. The investment comes on top of $650 million the Gates Foundation has already contributed since the Global Fund was launched 10 years ago.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The donation comes in the form of a promissory note which the Gates Foundation says "gives the Global Fund the flexibility and authority to distribute funds efficiently based on immediate needs.

"By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world," Gates said in a statement. "I can't think of more important work.

"These are tough economic times, but that's no excuse for cutting aid to the world's poorest," Bill Gates told the forum.

Gates says the funds could be used immediately in order to "save lives, whether it is bed nets (to protect against mosquitoes carrying malaria) or TB (tuberculosis) treatment, those are two diseases that don't get perhaps the visibility of the work done in HIV but they are every bit as important."

However, the fund has been under scrutiny after controversy over the possible misuse of funds. Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the fund, announced this week he would resign in March after leading the organization for five years. Kazatchkine cited the fund's decision to appoint a general manager as part of its "ambitions transformation plan" as the reason for his departure.

Gates downplayed the controversy, saying that the way it had been written about was "pretty disappointing," he said. "If you are going to do health programs in Africa, you are going to have some percentage that is misused.

"The interest is saving lives," Gates said, adding there were "all sorts of things that are going on that far overwhelm any amount of misdirection or whatever it was."

Gates pointed to the significant work the fund had done to help "change the fortunes of many of the world's poor through its prevention and treatment programs among 150 countries."

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