Washington Post Q & A with Bill Gates: ‘Death is something we understand extremely well’

Bill Gates Malaria Forum

The Washington Post’s chief policy wonk blogger Ezra Klein has published his conversation with Bill Gates about global health. Most of the discussion is focused on exploring how the Gates Foundation attempts to use data and better metrics to improve the fight against diseases of poverty.

Ezra Klein: Your Foundation is known for taking a particularly data-driven approach to its work. So how do you know what’s actually working when you’re in failed states with very little data-collection capacity?

Bill Gates: Of all the statistics in health, death is the easiest, because you can go out and ask people, “Hey, have you had any children who died, did your siblings have any children who died?” People don’t forget that. If you say to them, “Did your kids get vaccines or not,” they might have done it and not remember, or they might think, “Oh, this person wants me to say yes, maybe I look bad if I don’t say yes.” Death is something we really understand extremely well.

Read the rest at WaPo.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.