The first episode of an online conversation series kicked off with American businessman Bill Gates and Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji. The Microsoft founder and philanthropist started his own charity organisation with his wife, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is reportedly one of the largest private foundations in the world.
Bill Gates identified health as a predominant issue in India and said that if he had one wish for the country, then he would use it to eradicate malnutrition from India. He said that malnutrition drives out potential and abilities are lowered due to this. It is like almost 15 IQ points of people just vanishes.
Bill Gates also said that his personal favourite Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) was health. This does not come in as a surprise as his charity venture, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims at healthcare, education, and eradicating poverty in the world. Global healthcare is one of its key focus areas since its foundation in 2000.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is a list of 17 goals laid out by the United Nations to build a more prosperous, equal, and secure world by 2030. This is a part of the plan of a global transformation and was set by the UN in 2015. They aim to attack core issues that stand as a hurdle to the development of the country, which includes poverty, education, gender equality, climate action, and economic growth, among others.
Bill Gates also spoke about vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria in India. He said that although malaria has been a huge issue, to tackle the cause there is a need for greater investment. He also said that earlier, poor countries were suffering since the rich had the resources to handle these diseases.
Gates also linked health to climate change and said that due to the rising temperatures, it is now becoming easier for mosquitoes to move to higher altitudes. This means that mosquitoes will now be able to reach places where they could not earlier. He said that these mosquitoes will hence start flourishing in areas where they could not even survive earlier.
While talking about the steps initiated by different countries to tackle climate change, Bill Gates said that right now every country, rich or poor, needs to participate in climate change initiatives. This is because almost more than half of the population lives in these developing countries. He also said that farmers are the ones who will be bearing the biggest brunt of climate change.