Foundation says world witnessing faster progress in health, poverty reduction

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says the world is witnessing faster progress in health and poverty reduction since 2006.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair during Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair during Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

The Foundation made the submission in its 2017 “Annual Letter”, released on Wednesday in Lagos.

“We are witnessing the fastest progress the world has ever seen in global health and poverty reduction,’’ it stated.

The 2017 letter was addressed to Warren Buffet, a renowned investor and philanthropist, to celebrate the incredible progress made since 2006 when he donated $30 billion to the foundation.

Gate said in the letter that Buffet’s donation meant that the foundation and its partners were able to invest in new technologies, solutions and research that could save lives, help families and reduce extreme poverty levels.

“The lives of 122 million children around the world have been saved since 1990, 86 per cent of children worldwide receive basic vaccines.

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“And for the first time in history, more than 300 million women are using modern contraceptives.

Across the African continent, Gate noted that there have been key improvements of mortality in children under the age of five, caused by pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.

The mortality, according to him, has reduced by 54 per cent across sub-Saharan Africa.

In the West African sub region, the foundation co-chair said it had partnered with donors, governments, private sector and civil societies to help Nigerians live healthy and productive lives.

Making reference to UNICEF data, he said that since 2006, the foundation had seen incredible stories of progress and hope in the country, but that “there is still room for improvement.

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“Nigeria’s prevalence rate of women using contraceptives is below average for sub-Saharan Africa.

“Nigeria has a higher-than-average neonatal mortality rate compared to sub-Saharan Africa as a whole’’.

Gate further said that increased access to information about reproductive health and innovative contraceptive methods mean more women have had the power to make their own family planning decisions.

He said 27 per cent of women now use contraception in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has decreased by 28 per cent since 1990,’’ he said.

By Oluwashina Iyanda

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