Earlier this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) announced plans to contribute to the European Union’s External Investment Plan, and now it’s putting its money where its mouth is — with a €54 million ($62.5 million) commitment toward improving health services in sub-Saharan Africa.
The funding will be invested in EU diagnostic health services programs in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically dedicated to laboratories that provide diagnostic treatments for diseases like tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, and that deliver maternal and child health care.
The EU and BMGF hope that improvements to testing services like these will allow doctors to identify diseases earlier, act quicker and increase targeted treatment.
"Our foundation is delighted to partner with the European Commission to strengthen diagnostic services across Africa for the infectious diseases that still kill and harm the highest numbers of the world's poorest people," Bill Gates said in a press release. "By having better tools to more accurately identify these diseases, we can provide the right treatments at the right time and, ultimately, ensure more people across sub-Saharan Africa are able to live healthy and productive lives."
Most of the contribution (€43.2 million) will go toward the European Fund for Sustainable Development Guarantee (EFSD), which is one of three branches of the EU’s External Investment Plan. The EFSD supports investment in Africa and countries neighboring Europe, specifically relating to attracting funding that helps create jobs.
The contribution will ideally also lead to more funding and therefore increased access to quality health care.
"Through the Gates Foundation's contribution of €54 million to our External Investment Plan, we will unlock private investment in a sector where additional investments in state-of-the-art testing facilities are urgently needed in order to meet the health needs of ample sectors of the population," Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.
This partnership will help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities access quality health care and work towards achieving Global Goal 3 of ensuring global health.
Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.