Bill Gates praises Nitish Kr, Rahul Gandhi over healthcare



New Delhi: Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has praised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for their progressive attitudes towards improving the health indicators in India.

"When I travelled to India... on the trip I got to talk to Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, and hear about some great work he is doing to improve vaccination rates. The (Bill and Melinda Gates) Foundation is considering funding measurement systems to help improve these programmes," Gates wrote in his annual letter on healthcare systems in the world.

"I also got to meet Rahul Gandhi, who is part of a new generation of political leaders, focussed on making sure these investments are well spent. Rahul was very frank in saying that right now a lot of the money is not getting to the intended recipients and that it won't be easy to fix," Gates wrote in the letter.

"His openness was refreshing, since many politicians won't say anything that might discourage a donor from giving more. He explained how organising local groups, primarily of women, and making sure they watch over the spending is one tactic he has seen make a big difference.

"The long-term commitment to measuring results and improving the delivery systems that I heard from him and other young politicians assured me that health in India will improve substantially in the decade ahead," Bill Gates said.

He, however, wrote that the health statistics from northern India were terrible - nearly 10 percent of children die before the age of five in this area. In response, the Indian government is committed to increasing its focus and spending on health.

Since its inception in 1994, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $21 billion in grants across the world. In India, the foundation is active in controlling AIDS and help in developing several medicine for various common diseases.

IANS