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Gates Foundation CEO on global health and pandemic preparedness

Mark Suzman joins Washington Post Live on Thursday, March 2. (Video: The Washington Post)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, has invested billions of dollars in global health. Mark Suzman, the foundation’s CEO, joins The Post’s Frances Stead Sellers to discuss lessons from COVID-19, pandemic preparedness and the resiliency of the global health system.

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“The main point that I want to make sure is conveyed today, it is ‘when’ not ‘if.’ The world will face another pandemic threat like COVID-19. And so, because we know that's going to happen it makes complete sense, it is a very cheap insurance policy to be collectively putting together that $10 billion a year from wealthy countries that would be that global insurance policy. And it is amazingly shortsighted that the world is not putting in those resources, given what we’ve just experienced and been through.” - Mark Suzman (Video: Washington Post Live)
“Our primary goal is to look where there are gaps and inequity. There are still many more children dying of pneumonia and malaria. There are many more people dying of HIV and tuberculosis. In fact, deaths from those diseases increased during the pandemic. And that is after 20 years of decreasing … The first two decades of the 21st century saw unprecedented improvement in global health … There was amazing public health success. Those have all been setback in the last two years … Really, the challenge is, this should be government's taking action, putting resources in at scale because it's the ultimate public good for their own citizens." - Mark Suzman (Video: Washington Post Live)
“What really went right is the vaccines. People don’t understand how unprecedented it was to get those vaccines so successfully, so early … Current vaccines have efficacy rates of 30 to 40 percent. The COVID vaccines ended up having efficacy rates of 80 to 90 percent. That is really unusual … The negative was the distribution. It was not equitably distributed. Once these vaccines came online the reality was, there was a bit of a chase by wealthy countries that locked up most of the available supply.” - Mark Suzman (Video: Washington Post Live)

Mark Suzman

CEO and Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation