#  Criticizing the Gates Foundation →

February 23rd, 2008 | In Worth Reading 

I was rather surprised to hear that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has detractors. After examining their claims, however, The Economist decides that they’re (mostly) meritless.

Therein lies an irony. The WHO, one of whose captains now calls the Gates Foundation monopolistic, used itself to hold a monopoly in the fight against malaria, and it did a lousy job as a result. Indeed, Dr Kochi himself has been refreshingly frank about the WHO’s poor record in fighting the disease. The agency has also been criticised for accepting poor data from member countries which may downplay bad news. As Dr Chan says candidly, that charge “is a reality”. It is not her role, she says, to “name and shame” countries; she prefers to exert private pressure. But she acknowledges that some public pressure is essential, and applauds the role played by the media and charities in “shining the light” on previously obscure places.

A big new non-government organisation, crashing into the jungle like a young elephant, is bound to cause resentment, and perhaps bound to have unintended ripple effects. But without this elephant’s input of new money and ideas, the battle-front against malaria and other deadly diseases might present an even worse picture, especially if the field were left to governments and inter-governmental bodies.

Like this post? Subscribe via RSS or email, or follow on Twitter and you'll never miss another like it.