By HEALTH CORRESPONDENT
Bill and Melinda Gates have released their 2017 Annual Letter noting that we are witnessing the fastest progress the world has ever seen in global health and poverty reduction.
The 2017 letter is addressed to investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet and celebrates the incredible progress made since 2006 when he made a gift of $30 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His donation meant that the foundation and its partners were able to invest in new technologies, solutions, and research that could save lives, help families, and reduce extreme poverty levels.
For example, the lives of 122 million children around the world have been saved since 1990, 86% of children worldwide receive basic vaccines, and for the first time in history more than 300 million women are using modern contraceptives.
Across the African continent, Bill and Melinda noted key improvements in the following areas of development:
- Mortality in children under the age of five, caused by pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, has decreased by 54% across sub-Saharan Africa. (Unicef)
- Increased access to information about reproductive health and innovative contraceptive methods mean more women have the power to make their own family planning decisions. 27% of women now use contraception in sub-Saharan Africa. (Unicef)
- Extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has decreased by 28% since 1990. (UN)
Over the years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with donors, governments, the private sector, and civil society to help Kenyans live healthy and productive lives. Since 2006, the foundation has seen incredible stories of progress and hope in the country.
- The neonatal mortality rate in Kenya is well below the sub-Saharan Africa average. (Unicef)
- Kenya’s child malnutrition rate is lower than average for sub-Saharan Africa. (Unicef)
- Kenya’s rate of contraceptive use among women in relationships is 58 percent, compared to a sub-Saharan Africa average of 27 percent. (Unicef)