This is an excerpt from an Interview between Melinda Gates and journalists from Kenya’s Daily Nation media house.
At 12 minutes past 3pm on May 17, we are ushered into the room where Mrs Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dr Chris Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are.
“Hello, my name is Melinda Gates,” she introduces herself, in what is perhaps ordinary to her but profound to the recipient. “This is Melinda Gates”. She completes it with a firm handshake.
Q: You have today (Tuesday, May 17, 2016) announced a $80 Million Commitment to “Close Gender Data Gaps” and “Accelerate Progress for Women and Girls.” Why is this important?
We have very little data. Need to build a data system, instead of waiting every three to five years to see how we are doing in Family Planning. The data will let us know how the access to contraceptive is, what the supply is like, what contraceptives women use or if they were coerced into it.
We can measure these indicators every six months, to know which countries are on track and areas to know where to ask our partners for more funding if in West Africa, Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda.
Q: Which data will you be looking for?
We will look at data on unpaid work, income, family planning, violence, energy sources, land ownership, agriculture and how women are spending their time among other indicators. We will work with and the UN Women, the implementers of the grant and they will work with the National Statistical offices in countries.
Q: The Gates Foundation is very passionate about vaccination such as for Polio and the current malaria vaccine candidate (vaccine known as RTS,S is being developed by PATH). However, vaccination drives in Kenya even the recent one this week on measles and rubella as well as for tetanus, face opposition especially from the Catholic Church over concerns that the tetanus vaccines can cause infertility in women. As a Catholic mother what are your thoughts on this?
I vaccinate my own children. I couldn’t advocate more strongly to vaccinate your child (laughs). They are 100 per cent safe, they are quality tested around the world and are used by women and men around the world. They save lives.
Anybody that says something against that is just false and that makes me angry (laughs).
(Lifts her left index finger) I am catholic and I absolutely vaccinate my children and I recommend every parent around the world. Vaccination is a very different thing from contraceptives and vaccines should be done for every child. Read full interview here.