Gates donates $600M to fight tuberculosis

Jan. 27, 2006 at 4:43 PM

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Bill Gates has contributed $600 million to a $56 billion fund to break the back of tuberculosis worldwide, health officials in Switzerland said.

The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis, backed by more than 400 organizations worldwide, aims to treat 50 million people in the next 10 years as well as develop new treatments and a vaccine, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in a release.

The fund is expected to spend $47 billion on TB treatment and control, while $9 billion has been earmarked for research and development.

"Every 15 seconds somebody dies of TB, avoidably, preventably," said British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

Brown and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo have pledged to to make TB a priority for the Group of Eight industrialized countries and the African Union.

"The Global Plan is fundamental for Africa, where tuberculosis was declared an emergency by 46 countries in 2005," Obasanjo said at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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