The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving humanity’s quality of life. In the United States, it opens the doors of educational and professional opportunity. In developing countries, it funds vital medical services and initiatives to help people lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Notre Dame works with the Gates Foundation in the field of global health, aiding populations on a local as well as a continental scale.
One key collaboration is the Malaria Transmission Consortium, directed by Frank Collins, Notre Dame’s George and Winifred Clark Professor of Biological Sciences. Malaria is a treatable disease which kills 3 million children under the age of five every year. The Gates Foundation has awarded a $20 million grant to the MTC to evaluate existing malaria control programs and to design methods for malaria control in multiple nations and communities. It works with partners in Indonesia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, as well as researchers from the Swiss Tropical Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Durham University, and Notre Dame’s own College of Engineering. Notre Dame’s scientific and managerial expertise brings these forces together to alleviate a health crisis that stems from interlocking roots of devastation—climatological, financial, political, and organizational.
Another Notre Dame project that benefits from the Gates Foundation’s partnership is the Haiti Program, founded in 1993 by the biologist Fr. Tom Streit, C.S.C. Through years of man-made and natural disasters, it has fought the ongoing epidemic of lymphatic filariasis (LF), a mosquito-borne disease more commonly known as elephantiasis. Thirty percent of Haiti’s population is already infected with LF, which is is debilitating, disfiguring, and incurable. It is, however, preventable. Eradication would requires a population-wide, uninterrupted course of treatment, a great challenge in Haiti’s unstable environment, but the Haiti Program has made substantial progress in reducing the frequency of infection.
Notre Dame’s collaborators know that we have a drive to change the world. This drive attracts superb scholars and demands careful management of our gifts—“To whom much is given, much is required.” We honor those who offer us the opportunity to help.