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Bill Gates Says These Global Health Investments Were the Best He’s Ever Made. Here’s Why

Pledging $10 billion dollars, by way of his charitable organization, to three global health organizations. That’s the best investment Bill Gates ever made, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist wrote in an essay published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal.

Gates wrote that after leaving the helm of Microsoft, the technology corporation he co-founded in 1975, to commit all of his time to philanthropy with a focus on disease and poverty, he had expected his success rate to stay about the same. “Discovering a new vaccine, I figured, would be just as hard as discovering the next tech unicorn,” he wrote. It turns out that vaccines are much harder to get right.

Over the past 20 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund; and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. These organizations deliver drugs to developing countries and generally help make vaccines more accessible. Quantifying the value of that work, Gates wrote that those investments have created an estimated $200 billion in economic and social benefits.

Gates may not be a betting man, but in the Journal, he called his family foundation’s investments in the three organizations “the closest things that we have to surefire bets to alleviate suffering and save lives.”