Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, meets families at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya to better understand the challenges associated with management of severe pneumonia.

Melinda Gates: Why women's and children's health is at risk around the world

Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT) January 28, 2019

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Melinda Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.

Perspectives Melinda Gates

Imagine all the people in New York City. And Los Angeles and Chicago. Plus London and Paris. And Berlin.

That's how many people are alive today because of four global health funds you've probably never heard of. With money from donor governments, foundations and the private sector, these funds deliver vaccines, drug treatments, contraceptives and other lifesaving health supplies to people who need them.
But these global health funds are at risk. Collectively, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative; Gavi; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and the Global Financing Facility need to raise billions of dollars in the next 18 months to keep doing their work.
With politicians around the world turning to the rhetoric of isolationism, I worry governments that have been reliable donors, including my own country the United States, will stop investing and let the funds run low. This could squander the opportunity to make historic progress in the fight against disease through sustained investment in the global health funds.
The oldest of these funds, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, was created in 1988, when the world recorded about