Gates Foundation grants $84.3M for newborn health

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Thursday that it would give out $84.3 million in grants to two health organizations to fight newborn illness and death in the 18 developing countries where two-thirds of the world's infant deaths occur.

During an international teleconference about the grant, &to=' target=_blank>Melinda Gates said little is being done to prevent the deaths of 4 million babies a year, although some of the most effective solutions are cheap, easy and low-tech.

"Most of these deaths are easily preventable," she said. "All children, no matter where they are born, deserve an equal opportunity for good health."

She said the foundation's grants should be seen as seed money to encourage further government and non-profit spending toward an estimated worldwide need of $6.1 billion for newborn health, reports Seattle Post Intelligencer.

"Some global health problems, like AIDS, have no easy solution – but this isn’t one of them," said &to=' target=_blank>Bill Gates. "The world has an opportunity to stop millions of newborn deaths each year." "If we are to reduce the more than 10 million annual deaths to children under 5, we must focus on saving babies in the first month – and especially in the first week – of life," added Charles MacCormack. "Newborns make up 40 percent of the more than 10 million under 5 preventable deaths to children that occur every year."

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