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Bill Gates: State of World Health Is Improving

Bill Gates is supposed to be spending 30 percent of his time on Microsoft these days, meaning that his top priority remains the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This week, Gates provided an update on how things are progressing on the things that matter most to him.

In a post called "Good News You May Have Missed in 2014," Gates called out five positive trends in global health. For me, reading the list was a powerful corrective to the impression that wall-to-wall coverage of Ebola gave me about the state of the world's health.

Gates acknowledges problems, including Ebola, but writes of his list, "These are some of the most fundamental ways to measure the world's progress -- and by that measure, 2014 was definitely another good year." (Gates compiled a similar list at the end of 2013.)

The 2014 highlights, according to Gates:

  1. The number of deaths of under-5-year-olds is falling faster than projected.

  2. The number of annual new HIV infections fell below the annual increase in patients starting anti-retroviral therapies -- constituting a tipping point for AIDS.

  3. There have been big strides in the availability of vaccine for rotavirus, a diarrheal disease that kills hundreds of thousands of children a year.

  4. After efforts to improve tuberculosis treatments stalled for decades, scientists appear to be making progress with a new treatment regimen.

  5. Nigeria is on the brink of eliminating polio, and the infrastructure developed for the effort helped the country contain Ebola this year.

Check out the blog here.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM