Economic review

Future progress to fight poverty, disease in jeopardy: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2017-09-13 15:43:00 (Beijing Time)         Xinhua

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The world has made great achievements in alleviating poverty and fighting diseases, but future progress may be in jeopardy as some countries are stepping back from prior efforts, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation warned Wednesday.

In its latest report entitled "Goalkeepers: The stories behind the data", the foundation said the proportion of the population below the international poverty line of 1.90 U.S. dollars a day declined from 35 percent in 1990 to about 9 percent in 2016, according to projection.

"One thing that people have pointed out is that in the 1990-2015 period, a lot of poverty progress came because China did an amazing job reducing the level of poverty," Bill Gates told the media.

Fighting diseases is another area where countries have made great progress, said the report.

It analyzed the change in child mortality rate over the decades as child mortality is believed to be a proxy for the overall well-being of people around the globe.

"Six million fewer children died in 2016 than in 1990. That's more than the total number of children in France," said the report.

However, Bill and Melinda Gates expressed concern that shifting priorities, instability and potential budget cuts could lead the world to turn away from its commitments, jeopardizing the positive trajectory needed to end extreme poverty and wipe out diseases by 2030.

The report came at a time when there is more doubt than usual about the world's commitment to development, said Bill and Melinda Gates.

"Take it from the point of view of justice, or take it from the point of view of creating a secure and stable world: development deserves our attention," the report added.

It took the HIV as an example to show how much negative impact the governments could impose by turning away from their commitments.

It said that "if we had a 10 percent cut in the funding, that we'd have 5 million more (HIV) deaths by 2030."

In all, the report tracks 18 data points from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion and sanitation.

The Goalkeepers report will be produced every year through 2030.

This year's report is co-authored and edited by Bill and Melinda Gates and produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.