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Opinion Pieces Address Bill Gates’ Annual Letter

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Wednesday released his annual letter. The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing the content of the letter.

  • Melinda Gates, Foreign Policy: Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the content of Bill Gates’ annual letter in the context of maternal mortality, writing, “When measurement is public, as it is with the [Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)], countries have a strong incentive to focus on important global health goals, and “[n]o country wants to be in last place on the list of maternal deaths.” She discusses a number of issues relating to maternal mortality data and concludes, “Measurement in the field of maternal health will continue to be a massive challenge. … If we invest in better measurement, we will get a lot more impact out of all that courageous effort” (1/31).
  • Robert Guth, Wall Street Journal’s “Ideas Market”: Guth, a former editor and reporter at the Wall Street Journal, highlights a video “produced for the release of Bill Gates’ 2013 Annual Letter,” in which Swedish academic Hans Rosling discusses the division of the world into “developed” versus “developing” countries “based on the number of children a woman has and how long the children live.” “The video echoes key themes in Mr. Gates’ letter,” Guth states, adding, “His thesis is that anyone who wants to make steady progress against difficult global challenges needs to first find a way of measuring progress. Only then can you have clear feedback as to whether your efforts are working or not — and adjust your approach accordingly” (1/30).