By Joan Odafe
Lagos, Feb. 15, 2019 (NNN) Bill and Melinda Gates have commended the efforts of those they referred to as `optimists’ for devoting their ideas, resources and lives in solving the world’s challenges.
They gave the commendation on Friday in a letter entitled: “Bill and Melinda Gates: Our 2019 Annual Letter. Things We Didn’t See Coming’’.
They described 2018 as a year filled with series of surprises.
“From, especially devastating natural disasters on one hand to record numbers of women campaigning for office or the other.
“The world looking background from today is very different from what we pictured as a couple years ago looking forward,’’ they said.
They, however, said the surprises had helped to prod them to action because they realised that people’s realities of the world didn’t match their expectations for it.
Bill Gates explained that he read an article 25 years ago that said hundreds of thousands of children in poor countries were dying of diarrhoea.
He said it was surprising because he lived in a world where innovation was for everyone and no child was allowed to die from a disease that could have been prevented.
“That surprise helped crystallise our values; that discovery was one of the most important steps in our journey to philanthropy.
“We were surprised, then we were outraged, then we were activated,” he said.
They noted that one of the good surprises they had with malaria was the reduction in malaria deaths to 42 pet cent since 2000.
The reduction was due to interventions such as bed nets, targeted at reducing the disease’s burden.
The Gates highlighted other things that had surprised them in philanthropic journey.
They said some worried them while others inspired but all prodded them to action; they encouraged everyone to do the same to help the world get better.
The other surprises they highlighted include that Africa being the youngest continent; DNA tests can find serial killers and could also help to prevent premature birth.
Others are that data can be sexist, you can learn about processing anger from teenage boys, there’s a nationalist case for globalism, toilets haven’t changed in a century and textbooks are becoming obsolete.
The Gates said they were still absolutely optimistic about the future and believed in the power of innovation to help solve the world’s challenges.
They urged everyone to heed the call to action by taking up responsibilities by devoting their ideas and resources.
“When we’re feeling overwhelmed by negative headlines, we remind ourselves that none of us has the right to sit back and expect that the world is going to keep getting better.
“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to push it in that direction,” Bill and Melinda Gates said. (NNN)
(Editing by Vivian Ihechu/Peter Ejiofor)