The BBC has done an extensive (40 min) report on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation titled “Fortress Bill.” It is available for six more days online and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Jan. 8.
The BBC introduces the Gates Foundation as the world’s largest philanthropy aimed at helping the poor:
“Yet it remains an often secretive and hard to penetrate organization, which arouses suspicion on some sectors of the aid community.”
My friend and colleague Laurie Garrett, with the Council on Foreign Relations, is interviewed by the BBC and notes that the influence of private philanthropy in global health and development is on the increase — which means policy is often set behind closed doors by a select group of people:
“What we think is global health, how we define this mission, is increasingly decided by a relatively small number of Americans living in Seattle, Washington.”
The dominance of the Gates Foundation has led to a bias toward scientific, technological and private-sector solutions, says Garrett. Science and technological improvements are needed, she says, but this focus ends up crowding out all of the other — social, political and economic — changes necessary to defeat the diseases of poverty. Continue reading