The Must-know Story Of Why Bill Gates Paid Tribute To Thailand's 'Condom King'

Written By Daamini Sharma | Mumbai | Published:

As the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a source of inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs, however, Bill Gates recently dedicated one of his Instagram posts to a man whose name is used as a synonym to 'Condom' in Thailand. Mechai Viravaidya is breaking the taboo associated with Family planning, sex and condoms in Thailand.

"In a country where most people were uneasy discussing sex, Mechai Viravaidya pushed the conversation out into the open. He made contraceptives readily available throughout the country, and even launched a chain of restaurants named Condoms and Cabbages. Mechai has helped improve the lives of millions of people in Thailand. And the Thai people have thanked him with an honor that is perhaps the greatest measure of his impact. When people in Thailand want a condom, they don’t call it a condom. Instead, they refer to it by the name of the man who taught them the importance of using one – they ask for a Mechai”, he captioned the post. Take a look:

Who is Mechai Viravaidya?

Mechai Viravaidya is a social activist from Thailand who is credited with promoting the use of condoms and encouraging responsible family planning in the country. Viravaidya's efforts at AIDS awareness helped Thailand become one of the first countries in the world to achieve a decline in HIV infections. 

Mechai's Journey:  

Born in Thailand to a Scottish mother and Thai father—both of whom were doctors—Mechai trained as an economist and started his career at Thailand’s economic planning agency. It was there that Mechai discovered that his country was experiencing alarming population growth. Worried about Thailand’s future, Mechai decided to launch an organization called the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in 1974 to promote family planning.

The post from Bill Gates comes a few days after he shared a piece hailing the 'condom king' on his blog--'All Hail the Condom King'. In his blog post, Mr. Gates praised 'Mechai Viravaidya's goal to destigmatize contraceptives'.

"Mechai’s efforts have been so successful that he is affectionately known as 'Mr. Condom', or 'The Condom King', in Thailand. The world can continue to learn from Mechai's efforts to expand access to contraceptives," Bill Gates wrote sharing a video that details Mr Viravaidya's efforts.

Watch the video here: