Gates Foundation Gives $1.5B for Health

WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to spend $1.5 billion during the next 5 years for maternal and child health, Melinda Gates said in Washington.

“The world must come together to save women’s and children’s lives,” Gates in a speech at the Women Deliver 2010 conference, an international meeting of policymakers, health experts and advocates.

“In poor countries, pregnancy and childbirth often end in tragedy,” she said. “Our goal must be to build a world where every birth brings joy and hope for the future.”

Gates challenged the idea that large numbers of maternal and child deaths are inevitable, or even acceptable, in poor, developing countries.

“Every year, millions of newborns die within a matter of days or weeks, and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth,” Gates said. “The death toll is so huge, and has persisted for so long, it’s easy to think we’re powerless to do much about it. The truth is, we can prevent most of these deaths — and at a stunningly low cost — if we take action now.”

Gates said integrated health programs are needed for women and children to address multiple needs, including family planning, prenatal care, safe childbirth and nutrition.

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