full blog – My Vision for the Next Decade – bill gates

September 30, 2013


MAY 17, 2011

My Vision for the Next Decade


May 17, 2011

As I address the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva today, I’m excited about the progress that has been made. In 2005, the first time I gave a speech to the WHA, Melinda and I were still new to global health. My message then was one of optimism.

The world was finally starting to use its greatest resource—innovation—to solve its biggest problem—the fact that billions of people don’t have the chance to lead a healthy, productive life.

When I reflect on what I have learned in the past six years, I am more optimistic than ever. I believe we have the opportunity to make a new future in which global health is the cornerstone of global prosperity.

When everyone has access to good health care, the world will be transformed. Freeing billions of people from the relentless burden of sickness and death will unleash more human potential than any other revolution in history.

At the foundation, when we think about how to deploy our resources most effectively, one intervention stands out: vaccines. Vaccines are inexpensive, easy to deliver, and proven to protect children from disease for a lifetime. When I was at Microsoft, we dreamed about technologies that were so powerful and yet so simple. Today, I like to imagine what the future will look like when world leaders start using vaccine technology to its utmost. We can make this coming decade the Decade of Vaccines.

At the World Health Assembly, I outlined my vision:

In January of last year, I called for the world to accelerate progress on vaccines. I’m excited that global health leaders are now collaborating to put a specific global vaccine action plan in place. Starting in 2012, the Gates Foundation will bestow an award on an individual who has made a uniquely innovative contribution to the Decade of Vaccines. This could be innovation in the science, the delivery, or the financing of vaccines. I will announce the winner every January in my annual letter. My goal is to make sure that pioneering global health leaders get the credit they deserve.

The world has a precious opportunity right now, and it will depend on our ability to do the difficult, necessary things.

  • Donor countries must increase their investment in vaccines and immunization, even though they are coping with budget crises.
  • Pharmaceutical companies must make sure vaccines are accessible in poor countries, and make a commitment to tiered pricing.
  • World Health Assembly member states must make vaccines a central focus of their health systems.

Together, we can make this the decade in which we take full advantage of the technology of vaccines. When we do it, we will build an entirely new future based on the understanding that global health is the cornerstone of global prosperity.

It might be the most difficult thing we’ve ever done, but it will also be the most important.

Read Bill’s keynote address to the World Health Assembly.

Video of Bill’s speech is available on the World Health Assembly website.

%d bloggers like this: