Bill Gates talks to Lisa LaFlamme about global health, Africa and conquering AIDS
Published Thursday, September 8, 2016 9:25PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 8, 2016 11:07PM EDT
In the ongoing fight against three of the world’s deadliest diseases -- AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis -- Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says instability in Africa’s war-torn regions has made it difficult to deliver “the basics of health.”
In a wide-ranging interview with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Gates spoke about the challenges of achieving eradication, his efforts to encourage the world’s richest to help the world’s poorest, and his thoughts on Donald Trump.
Watch the entire conversation with Bill Gates on CTVNews.ca and CTV News Channel on Saturday, Sept. 17
In Nigeria, which is currently plagued by mass famine, starvation and a conflict against Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram, Gates said providing aid has become more difficult.
“Whenever you have war, you often have more deaths because the medical system and the food system breaks down than you have directly through violence,” Gates said. “So it’s women and children who are actually suffering in many of these cases, including northern Nigeria right now.”
Even providing “the basics of health” to emergency camps has become tough, Gates said.
“This is not hospitals. This is just primary health care, the most simple things. And even so, getting the supplies out, getting the trained workers there even when things are stable, that’s not easy,” he said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a key partner in the Global Fund, a partnership formed in 2002 with governments across the world, to raise money and resources to beat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The goal is to totally eradicate the three diseases by 2030, but Gates admits that may be ambitious.
“We won't be to absolutely zero on all three by then, but we should be way down,” he said. “Most of these diseases, we are down from the peak.”
To help make that happen, Gates has called on some of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth in an effort dubbed The Giving Pledge. So far, more than 150 people and families have accepted, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, business magnate Elon Musk and U.S. investor Warren Buffett.
One of the billionaires who has not taken the pledge is Donald Trump. Asked about the bombastic Republican nominee and what a Trump presidency would mean for global health, Gates said he has never met Trump or discussed issues with him.
“We work with whoever is elected. Some will bring a more generous, open view of the world than others,” he said.
Asked about the tenor of the campaign, Gates said he’s been taken aback by the recent rise in nationalist politics in the U.S. and abroad.
“I am surprised that in various countries, whether it's the U.K. or the U.S., you see isolationist tendencies that would tend to work against the co-operation, whether it's climate change, immigration, innovation, helping the very poorest. You know, those are things where you want to think across country boundaries and see win-win type solutions.”
Gates will visit Montreal on Sept. 17 for Global Citizen: A Concert to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The show, which will be aired on CTV, will include performances by Grimes, Metric, Usher, Half Moon Run and Charlotte Cardin.
Gates said his work with global health has been “enlightening” because it gives him the chance to see the intricacies behind problems on the ground.
“What you see in terms of suffering is so huge compared to anything that we’re used to – a ward filled with kids who have malaria, some of whom are not going to survive. And then going back in (the) future and seeing, because of bed nets the Global Fund bought, that those lives are being saved.”