The first 25 weeks of the Covid pandemic wiped out 25 years of progress in global health, and three years later, most countries’ health systems are still not fully recovered, according to Bill Gates, who added that the pandemic “catalysed” a wave of health innovation in India.
With its track record of vaccine development and digital public infrastructure platform, India has the potential to become a hub of “innovation and ingenuity,” ushering in a “new era of global partnership” capable of overcoming the world’s greatest challenges, according to Gates, who delivered the Fifth Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture here.
Gates emphasised the power of innovation to bridge divides and India’s role in the “big, global innovation boom,” saying, “When I was at Microsoft, we chose to put a development centre here in 1998.
And we did so because we knew India would play a significant role in the global innovation ecosystem — not just as a recipient of new breakthroughs, but also as an innovator of them. Furthermore, as a scaler of breakthroughs. India can create high-quality, low-cost innovations and accelerate their adoption. Vaccines are an excellent example.”
When it comes to overcoming the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate change or healthcare, Gates believes India has a significant role to play, citing the country’s low-cost innovations such as the rotavirus.
When it comes to overcoming the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate change or healthcare, India has a significant role to play, according to Gates, citing the country’s low-cost innovations, such as the rotavirus vaccine, which saved lives worldwide, and affordable solutions, such as making biofuels and fertilisers from waste to address climate change.
The author, philanthropist, investor, technology founder, and co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began his lecture by referring to a front-page New York Times article about 3 million children dying from diarrhoea each year, 90% of whom were from developing countries.