The billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has warned about the risk of an epidemic that could be dangerous for humanity in the next ten years, especially in those countries where healthcare is not so efficient.

Gates explained how people all over the world are at high risk regarding pandemics caused by antibiotic-resistant bugs, and that populations from developing countries face a more serious danger. He said that the success that antibiotics have had in the health field has produced complacency and it is evidenced in the the microbial resistance to those drugs.

bill gates
“The cooperation that we have seen, I think, needs to intensify,” Gates said regarding international cooperation to eradicate diseases. Image credit: UN Press Center.

Although Gates thinks that there could be improvements in the next years, he is worried about the current health situation. The Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks showed that health systems across the globe are not so efficient when it comes to fighting a severe pandemic, he noted.

Gates and his wife Melinda are in front of a foundation that wants to help concerning the global health situation. They have put enormous efforts on combating pneumonia, malaria, polio, among others diseases present mainly in third world countries.

“I do think we will have much better medical tools, much better response, but we are a bit vulnerable right now if something spread very quickly like a flu that was quite fatal – that would be a tragedy and new approaches should allow us to reduce that risk a lot,” Gates said in an exclusive interview with Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme guest editor.

International problems require international collaboration

Gates said in the interview that the way wealthier countries help developing countries is crucial in order to fight global diseases. These countries not only help developing nations for humanitarian causes but because a poor health situation in one country could reverberate in another one negatively.

International collaboration was the principal reason for the eradication of smallpox and it almost eradicated polio, he stated. Gates thinks that the criticism toward the World Health Organization regarding the Ebola pandemic is totally unfounded, as what is needed is more intensification in international health aid.

The problem of the WHO, according to Gates, is not a lack of preparation or efficacy, but more a matter of organizational expansion. He said that people across the world really have to dedicate concerning the global cooperation and not focus on the problems that might overcome, as it’s not adding anything to the resolution of the objectives.

Both the United Nations and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have reported that antimicrobial resistance is a “fundamental threat” to global health. According to recent studies, this new phenomenon is killing 700,000 people every year. Because of this situation, Gates is worried about a global pandemic that could lead to an extreme health crisis as he admits that he is “crossing his fingers” for a flu outbreak not to happen in at least ten years.

Source: The Guardian