Global Health — The Gates–Buffett Effect

Susan Okie in the New England Journal of Medicine:

AidIn a world with many celebrities but few heroes, Bill Gates has attained heroic status by committing much of his enormous fortune to the advancement of global equity. He and his wife have targeted the causes of health disparities between rich and poor, and their foundation has become a driving force in international aid and in research on AIDS and other diseases. In June, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s likely impact on global health was amplified when Warren Buffett, the world’s second-richest man, announced plans to give most of his fortune to the foundation established by the richest one. 

Buffett’s gift, worth about $37 billion, will double the foundation’s endowment from $29 billion to approximately $60 billion, making it by far the world’s largest charitable foundation. The gift will also increase the foundation’s annual giving from $1.36 billion last year to about $3 billion, or approximately $1 per year for every person in the poorer half of the world’s population. By comparison, the World Bank estimates that total health-related aid to developing countries in 2004 (from governments, international organizations, and private sources) was about $12.7 billion (see graph).

More here.