Does saving kids’ lives lead to overpopulation?


Published on 19, February, 2017

In an annual update of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates say that they remain optimistic about the world’s progress and they see a world which is healthier and safer than ever.

Gates has previously talked about using their vast wealth to bring the world’s population growth under control but at the same time they are hugely investing in saving children’s health.

So why do the Gates work so hard to save kids’ lives that can lead to over population? In their 10th annual letter, the billionaires addressed 10 tough questions and spoke about plethora of issues from saving children’s lives to working with corporations that develop new diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines for diseases of poverty and why they work so hard to give their billions in philanthropy.

Saving the lives of children is its own justification

“When more children live past the age of 5, and when mothers can decide if and when to have children, population sizes don’t go up. They go down. Parents have fewer children when they’re confident those children will survive into adulthood. Big families are in some ways an insurance policy against the tragic likelihood of losing a son or a daughter.”

Melinda Gates explains by saying that history is a witness to it, all over the world, when death rates among children go down, so do birth rates. “It happened in France in the late 1700s. It happened in Germany in the late 1800s. Argentina in the 1910s, Brazil in the 1960s, Bangladesh in the 1980s, replied Malinda.   

Bill Gates describes, “there’s another benefit to the pattern Melinda describes—first more children survive, then families decide to have fewer children—which is that it can lead to a burst of economic growth that economists call “the demographic dividend.”

Not just giving but making a difference:

They strongly believe that if they invest in providing medical care and contraceptives, families will use it to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better future for their children.

They are also working with the private sector to make existing drugs and vaccines available to people in poor countries and eventually save lives.

“There is a group of more than a dozen awful diseases, known collectively as neglected tropical diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people. Most of these diseases can be treated, but the drugs are too expensive for the poorest countries to buy and deliver to their people. Several years ago, we learned that a few pharmaceutical companies were donating the necessary drugs. We loved the idea and helped bring together a larger group of companies to donate even more. In 2016 they provided treatment for at least one of these diseases to 1 billion people in 130 countries. I’m optimistic that we can eliminate a number of neglected tropical diseases in the next decade, and this work is one reason why” says Bill.

It’s why they are together:

They say that they both come from families that believed in leaving the world better and they both strongly believe in it.  "Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy," writes Bill. "We think that's a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you've taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society."