In an exclusive interview hosted by author Chetan Bhagat, in New Delhi, Microsoft CEO and founder Bill Gates discussed a few healthcare issues in India. Gates along with his wife Melinda discussed the values and experiences that have shaped the Gates’ philanthropy. The conversation was also attended by students of AIIMS, IIT and Delhi School of Economics. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
Gates mentioned that he was ‘enthused’ about the Modi government, especially in the health sector,’ she said. Speaking about the health structure in India he said, ’When push comes to shove, the health structure (in India) has got to go up, the government has to really figure out the fiscal balance. It would be interesting to see if that goes up. I also think (that for) the economy as a whole there are some unpopular things that need to be done’.
According to Gates, the real test for India’s new Narendra Modi government would lie in how it embraces unpopular decisions which would be of benefit to the country. ‘The real test of the government is whether they are willing to do things that are good for the country. Common- sense thinking and embracing the unpopular. What good is the mandate if they are not able to do such things,’ Gates said here today.
Gates highlighted that a few things are ‘still unclear’, lauding the government’s decision to roll out four new vaccines in the country, Melinda Gates said that would contribute hugely towards bringing down infant mortality. ‘If you have to stop child mortality, you need to roll out these vaccines,’ she added.
The government’s commitments to new-born healthcare and to sanitation which can help bring down life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea are some of the other matters which she touched upon.
The Microsoft founder said that there was every reason to believe that progress is possible. ‘I’m very optimistic and very impatient. If we’ve got the right people and studied the right way, we will be able to come up with a solution,’ he said. The husband-wife duo discussed values and experiences that shaped their philanthropy, which they said was guided by the belief that ‘all lives have equal value’.
With inputs from PTI[contact-form]