Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said here Wednesday that he is optimistic about the progress toward global health and the sustainable development goals.
He said at a forum held under the "Goalkeepers" event that the progress can be further accelerated, saying "the last 16 years have been wonderful and the next 15 years we can do more."
Gates cited the major trends which have led to this progress. Among them is the frontier of science that is moving faster today than ever before, with more people in college, more research and more articles being published.
"This is where we get new drugs, new vaccines, more ways to get in touch with health workers doing everything they need to do, this is a key reason why life today is so different than 200 years ago," he said.
At the forum Gates demonstrated the MetaFridge, a newly developed refrigerator which can keep vaccines at the required low temperatures for five to nine days without any power. It targets those children in remote areas of developing countries who do not have access to vaccines due to delivery problems.
"We are at a defining moment in the history of global development where we can either collectively show resolve and get the job done, or turn our backs on human suffering and inequity," he said. "I believe when people know about the progress we've already made, they'll be inspired to finish the job."
Goalkeepers 2017 was preceded by the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards dinner on Sept. 19 to honor outstanding activists who have demonstrated a positive impact on people's lives, and who inspire others to accelerate progress towards the development goals.
Several announcements were made during the event, signifying further international commitment across sectors to achieving the global goals. In addition to the Gates Foundation's new 200-million-U.S.-dollar contribution to the Global Financing Facility, a platform supporting women's and children's health in developing countries, four other multisector "Accelerators" were announced at the event, which involve women's movements, community health workers, digital financial inclusion and child undernutrition.
These events followed the release last week of "Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data," a new report by Bill and Melinda Gates that uses data projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to forecast future scenarios for 18 indicators of the Global Goals, including child and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, stunting, family planning and access to financial services.