5 Global Health Issues That Surprised Bill and Melinda Gates
Every year since 2009, Bill and Melinda Gates have written a letter about the issues and innovations most striking to them. The goal is to bring important global issues to peoplersquos attention so that more minds can work to create solutions and improve life for everyone on the planet.
Their newly released 2019 letter, which is themed ldquoWe Didnrsquot See This Coming,rdquo includes examples of cutting-edge technology mdash like self-contained toilets that donrsquot require connection to a sewage system mdash as well as efforts to address social challenges like domestic violence.
ldquoBill and I travel a lot locally and globally, together and often separately,rdquo Melinda Gates tells TIME. ldquoWhat we wrote in this yearrsquos letter are things that when we come [together] after traveling separately, we describe to one another.#8221
Here are five of the nine innovations and issues highlighted in this year#8217s letter from Bill and Melinda Gates.Low-tech violence prevention
One initiative that caught the Gateses#8217 attention this year is a school- and neighborhood-based behavior program called Becoming a Man, which helps young men in high-crime areas learn skills for avoiding violence and controlling potentially dangerous impulses. Programs like this, says Bill mdash who participated in one in Chicago mdash show the power of even low-tech solutions like teaching basic coping skills in changing peoplersquos lives. Studies of the program find that men who learned from the program have about half the arrest rates of men who donrsquot do the sessions.Africa#8217s young population
Africa mdash while an ancient continent with manrsquos earliest evolutionary ancestors mdash is today one of the youngest in terms of average age. ldquoAfrica has such an enormous youth population, with a median age of 18,rdquo says Melinda. This demographic phenomenon is a huge opportunity, she says, #8220to help them not only survive but thrive and add to the global economy.rdquo Though the Gateses anticipate challenges with development, improving infrastructure, introducing stable governments and economies are critical for raising opportunities for people in low resource countries, they write.Health Newsletter Get the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips. View Sample Sign Up Now Climate change fueled by building