Bill and Melinda Gates have written a Valentine’s message to their friend, Warren Buffett, who, a decade ago, committed to give their foundation 85% of his fortune.
Buffett stated at the time that he had grown to admire the Gates Foundation over the years, and that he believed that they would be able to use his money effectively because their Foundation was already scaled-up.
Buffett asked the Gates how they were doing with his money, and they responded with a wonderfully produced multimedia love letter, published on 14 February.
The good news, we are reliably informed, is that 122 million children under the age of five have been saved from dying over the past 25 years.
The bad news, sadly, is that, while overall childhood deaths are down, newborn deaths now represent 45% of all childhood deaths, compared with 40% in 1990. Last year, 2.5 million children died during their first month of life. And nearly 45% of childhood deaths are linked to lack of sufficient nutrition. ‘Nutrition is still one of the biggest mysteries in global health,’ Bill Gates writes.
‘Malnutrition destroys the most human potential on the planet. Kids who are stunted are not just below their global peers in height; they’re behind their peers in cognitive development, and that will limit these children their whole lives. Nutrition remains the biggest missed opportunity in global health. So, why are we failing so miserably?’
HETN can answer that question, and it is no mystery. We have no doubt that you, Bill and Melinda, are well-intentioned, but you are talking to the wrong people. Rural populations, the world over, used to know how to feed themselves. You will never solve the current problem by listening to those who created it in the first place.
If you, or anyone else out there, are interested in knowing why we are achieving very little, if anything, then follow this blog.