(30th July 2014) The co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates yesterday visited UK charity, GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines) in Edinburgh to discuss progress in the development of livestock vaccines and medicines for some of the 900 million people who rely on livestock to pay for their daily needs.
Accompanied by senior staff from the Gates Foundation, Mr Gates spent two and a half hours in high level technical discussion with representatives of GALVmed and its partners who are international experts in livestock and science. The meeting was held in the Moredun Research Institute’s premises in Pentlands Science Park near Penicuik.
With its headquarters in Scotland, GALVmed works in over twenty countries, with and through over three hundred partners. GALVmed’s aim is to improve the lives of people living in poverty by helping to create sustainable supply chains of livestock health products which are affordable to poor people. Money raised through livestock and animal products pays for education and healthcare. Animals supply manure and traction to support crop production, create employment and provide business opportunities. The loss of animals through disease devastates the lives of individuals, families and communities around the world. In circumstances where poverty or the environment offer no alternatives, chickens, goats, sheep, cattle and pigs mean survival, school, clothing, trade and the dignity of choice and self-determination.
Commenting on the visit, GALVmed’s Chief Executive, Peter Jeffries said:
It was a privilege and an encouragement for us to be able to welcome Bill Gates to Scotland for his first visit to GALVmed. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to facilitate enormous advances in human health, dramatically reducing infant mortality and greatly enhancing the lives and wellbeing of people living in extreme poverty. Healthy livestock plays a vital role in providing income for basic healthcare, school books and nutrition for millions of the world’s poorest people.
Today’s meeting brought together some of our key partners, working together as a Global Alliance to develop affordable livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics. Mr Gates engaged throughout the meeting at a highly technical level, asking informed and constructively provocative questions. Mr Gates was very encouraging about the breadth and quality of work being undertaken in the livestock health arena and emphasised the importance of delivering with impact for the lives of poor people and in doing so as quickly as possible.
The Gates Foundation is one of the principal funders of not-for-profit, GALVmed. In February 2012, Bill Gates announced a further £25 million grant to support GALVmed’s work. At the same time the UK Government announced further support through a £6.2 million grant. The two grants, totally £31.2 million are together enabling GALVmed to implement phase two of its Protecting livestock, saving human life programme which was funded. Phase one was jointly funded by the Gates Foundation and the UK Government in 2008 with £14.2 million (80% from the Gates Foundation and 20% from the UK Government).
Speakers at the event were:
- Mr Peter Jeffries, Chief Executive, GALVmed
- Professor Marshall Lightowlers, Principal Research Fellow, The University of Melbourne
- Dr Vish Nene, Director, Vaccine Biosciences (ILVAC) – Program Leader, ILRI
- Dr Danny Goovaerts, Interim Director, Research & Development, GALVmed
- Dr Mike Witty, African Animal Trypanosomosis Consultant, Former Chairman of GALVmed
- Mr Rajiv Gandhi, CEO & Managing Director, Hester Biosciences Limited
- Dr Christie Peacock CBE, Chairman & Founder, Sidai Africa Ltd
- Professor Peter Wells, Chairman of Moredun Scientific; Formerly Global Head of Research & Development, Novartis Animal Health, Chair of GALVmed
Notes for Editors
About GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines)
Around 900 million people living in poverty rely on their livestock for daily needs. When disease strikes, the loss of livestock or reduced production impacts food security and nutrition, the provision of education, basic healthcare and limits choice and opportunity. GALVmed is a not-for-profit Livestock health Product development & adoption Partnership organisation. It is working with and through partners to make livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible to the millions for whom livestock is a lifeline.
For GALVmed Media Enquiries, please contact Stuart Brown:
T. 0131 445 6264