Microsoft founder Bill Gates has donated $200 million to fund research into the diseases that plague poor countries. Just four conditions—HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and childhood diarrheal illnesses—make up 90 percent of the world’s health care needs, yet they draw a mere 10 percent of the research money. Gates, who announced the donation at the World Economic Forum this week, said that because fewer companies were vying to develop drugs for the diseases of the poor, there was a mistaken perception that those diseases were incurable. “The role of philanthropy,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “is its ability to place a value on things that the market does not.” Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds.
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