Friday, October 30, 2009

Impatient Optimists

On Tuesday Bill and Melinda Gates went to Washington DC to talk about why they are Impatient Optimists. While promoting the Living Proof project, they gave a speech that was streamlined online to both inform and encourage people to be interested in alleviating poverty and problems of global health from the world. They made notes of diseases such as Small Pox that were once killing all over the world that is now not around;progress. They also touched on the percentages of Polio, Malaria, and AIDS that were once much higher, but now due to the help of the United States funded programs are now much smaller. The increase in research, bed nets, antiviral medicine and especially vaccines have reduced the amount of deaths significantly in the last ten years, especially with children. The optimism is with this increase in health results, however the impatient-ness comes from the fact that things are not necessarily being done fast enough, the vaccine for AIDS could be year to decades away, and for every person that receives antivirals, there are twice to four times as many that do not have access to antivirals. Conditions are bad and funding is limited, however there is lots of progress and the Gates' wanted to highlight that the United States programs, taxpayers and politicians are helping and making a difference to reduce the amount of people that do not receive these medicines. The program is done very well, with personal stories from both Bill and Melinda as well as first hand stories from people suffering in India and Africa. I highly recommend watching it, it is both inspirational and informative, giving real progress reports as well as the hard to deal with facts of world poverty. We need the US government to put these interventions in developing countries, which is why we need to contact our congressional leaders and tell them you want this to be a priority of our foreign policy.
You can watch their speech in full at
-Sara Frodge