CNN — Bill and Melinda Gates announced plans Friday to invest $10 billion in the fight against a number of illnesses including AIDS and said the record donation could save nearly nine million lives.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, they said the 10-year program will focus on vaccines for AIDS, tuberculosis, rota virus and pneumonia.
“We must make this the decade of vaccines,” said Bill Gates.
“Vaccines are a miracle,” added Melinda Gates. “With just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime. We’ve made vaccines our priority at the Gates Foundation because we’ve seen firsthand their incredible impact on children’s lives.”
Since stepping down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in mid-2008, Bill Gates has devoted most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organization he set up with his wife Melinda. He remains part-time chairman of the software giant.
The foundation directs most of its attention to global health, education and agriculture in the third world and has committed more than $21 billion since it was established in 1994.
The $10 billion commitment is the largest pledge ever made by a charitable foundation to a single cause, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a newspaper covering nonprofit organizations.
The couple told delegates at Davos that they used a model developed by a consortium at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States to project the potential impact of vaccines on childhood deaths over the next decade.
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