Gates Foundation gives $1.5 bln for women's health
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.5 billion on Monday in a joint push with the United Nations to improve the health of women and children, while launching a lobbying effort to get governments and other non-profit groups on board.
The program aims to cut across the "silos" of health initiatives focused on one thing -- AIDS, for example, or nutrition -- and get broader initiatives into place.
"That is in addition to grants that we already make in vaccines, diarrhea, malaria," Melinda Gates told reporters.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would try to focus the Group of 20 meeting in Toronto later this month on the subject, adding the goal is to raise $15 billion.
"We may need an additional $45 billion by 2015," Ban said.
Ban and Gates described a comprehensive approach through 2014 to help women deliver babies safely and plan healthy families with access to contraception, while incorporating current vaccination and nutrition programs.
"The women and children are always last in line for health issues," Ban said. "It's just morally unacceptable ... This is a real human rights issue."
Ban said the United Nations would lean on developed nations and non-profits alike. Continued...