Melinda French Gates Commits $370 Million Annually to Combat Maternal Mortality Crisis

Philanthropist and advocate, Melinda French Gates, is in New York City this week for the annual Goalkeepers event, where leaders are addressing urgent global challenges. The focus of this year’s Goalkeepers Report is the alarming rate of maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth, with an estimated 800 women dying every day from preventable causes worldwide. French Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, passionately emphasized that these deaths are “needless” and that “women giving birth should not die in birth these days.” The foundation has pledged an annual commitment of $370 million from 2023 to 2027 to support maternal and children’s health, with a strong focus on life-saving innovations.

Becoming a grandmother recently reinforced French Gates’ dedication to this cause, as she experienced firsthand the challenges faced by mothers during childbirth. Her daughter’s delivery room experience gave her a profound perspective on the issue. Furthermore, French Gates highlighted the disturbing disparity in maternal mortality, with Black and indigenous women being three times more likely to die than White mothers, a concern brought to light by tennis star Serena Williams. To address these issues, the Gates Foundation’s commitment will fund life-saving interventions, data collection on maternal mortality, and advocacy for policy changes, including exploring the use of AI ultrasounds administered via smartphones in low-income countries.

Despite her divorce from Bill Gates in 2021 after 27 years of marriage, Melinda French Gates has announced her intention to remain with the Gates Foundation. She expressed her deep commitment to the foundation’s mission and her dedication to addressing critical issues like maternal mortality. French Gates believes her role as co-chair and founder, along with her children’s dedication to making a positive impact on the world, serves as the driving force behind her decision to stay. Her commitment to saving lives through the foundation’s initiatives remains unwavering, emphasizing that “I want lives to be saved, and this is the way to do it.”

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