Bill Gates is reported to be one of the richest individuals on Earth, with a current net worth of $87.4 billion. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), founded in 2000, is the largest private foundation in the world.
A recent report released by a U.K. based organization, Global Justice Now, closely examines the BMGF operations and reveals that the foundation’s influence on global health initiatives is greater than any other donor country including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and Italy. However, unlike democratic governments who are accountable to their electorates, the BMGF is a private foundation that essentially remains unaccountable to populations impacted by the foundation’s social reform and public health initiatives, with the exception of tax reporting requirements.
In 2015, the BMGF contributed 11% of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) entire budget, with much of that being funneled through the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) program. GAVI is an international organization committed to “improve access to new and underused vaccines to children in low-income countries.”
Since 2000, the foundation has contributed $2.5 billion to GAVI. Interestingly, according to the Global Justice Now report, “members of the GAVI board always include companies in the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, which involves GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, and Pfizer, among others.”
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