Bill Gates is once again enlisting the help of his blog followers in his effort to do some philanthropic good.
In a new post on Gates Notes titled “Mosquito Wars,” the billionaire Microsoft co-founder is asking readers to learn more about malaria and help combat the deadly disease by performing a few simple tasks. Readers are asked to read the post and answer a one-question quiz in order to earn points. The points can be redeemed for a bed net to be distributed via World Vision to families in the Inhambane region of Mozambique where malaria is a big threat and many people still sleep without nets.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is hoping to give away 100,000 bed nets to further aid what Gates calls “massive progress” in combatting malaria, which killed nearly 870,000 people in a year as recently as 2000. Gates said the 50 percent reduction to 429,000 lives last year is a remarkable global health story, but that the figure is still way too high.
“How did we get here? I give credit to an unprecedented scale-up in global commitment and cooperation — malaria funding rose by 1,000 percent from 2000 to 2015,” Gates wrote. “This money fueled a number of amazing scientific breakthroughs, enabled us to deliver them at scale, and focused more brainpower on improving both control and treatment efforts.”
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Gates said he did call for the eradication of malaria a decade ago, and admits to thinking in 2007 that a long-lasting vaccine would surely be in place by now. But he thinks new progress in the war against mosquitos that carry the disease is gaining ground thanks to numerous innovations which he lists, including insecticide-treated bed nets; disease mapping; special tubes on houses that allow air to flow in but keep the bugs out; genome editing; and sugar traps.
Gates believes he’ll see an end to malaria in his lifetime, and by enlisting his followers, perhaps “the mosquito has met its match,” he said.
Last year, Gates took on extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa with his first initiative to enlist the help of Gates Notes Insiders. For “Coop Dreams,” readers were asked to read a blog post, watch a video and answer a one-question quiz to spur Gates to donate a flock of chickens on their behalf via Heifer International.
Check out a thank you note from Gates to his followers after that effort resulted in 130,000 chickens being donated: