In this world, there are very few people who have everything that they can ever ask for and also a big heart that feels for others. Normally, when people have wealth and fame, they become full of themselves and lose what little empathy that they had! However, there are only few people who are kid enough to think about others and the pain that they suffer from. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan are one of such people as they recently have made an announcement that will make you respect them even more. The couple made the headlines in the global health world when they revealed that they are going to make a $3 billion commitment to “cure all diseases in our children’s lifetime.” That amount is surely huge and one needs a very big heart to do such a thing and with that this couple is now on the list of the wealthy philanthropists who spend their money to deal with global health issues.
There are a lot of Philanthropic organizations that are working for the cause but the fact is that we can never be sure about whether they are honest towards the work. And that is where these amazing philanthropists step in and save the world by pooling in their share of the work. In case you don’t know, this very initiative is not new, it rather started back in December 2015 when Zuckerberg and his wife, Chan started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). The idea was to sell up to $1 billion in Facebook shares for each of the next three years but to everyone’s surprise. However, the couple then decided that they will give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares during their lifetimes to advance CZI’s goals of “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” Amazing, isn’t it?
In case, you want to know about the program in detail, CZI will provide $3 billion over the next 10 years through a program called Chan Zuckerberg Science. During the first phase of this program, $600 million will be provided to researchers at three San Francisco Bay-area universities, Stanford and the University of California at both Berkeley and San Francisco so that the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub can be created to focus on research and development of new techniques to treat diseases. This approach happens to be unique as the basic strategy is akin to the Gates Foundation’s investments in research that could better global health, rather than funding clinical care or providing health services itself. So, the couple is trying to deal with the root causes of diseases so that they can be prevented in the future rather than dealing with them on temporary basis. Very few people plan for the longer term and we are proud of this couple.
While objectively $3 billion is a large amount, CZI’s pledge does not radically alter the balance of global health investments. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds that donors pledged $36.4 billion for global health in 2015. If we assume that this funding remains flat and CZI allocates its funding in equal portions of $300 million each year, CZI’s pledge is less than 1 percent of total funding. Economist Charles Kenny points out that the world spends $7 trillion each year on health, totaling “more than 23,000 times the size of the annual Chan-Zuckerberg investment.” But despite that, we don’t think that the contribution that Zuckerberg and his wife has made to the resolve the issues of the health globally can be under estimated because there are many people who don’t even think about such issues even when they have the resources to make the world a better place.
Some observers have asked whether private organizations should launch independent public health efforts without oversight or any obligation to account for their work. Rather than putting its resources into an existing organization like the World Health Organization, CZI just like Gates is rather creating its own institution and building its own network of collaborating institutions. Well, the concern is valid because pooling in money t make an already existing system is a wiser decision but keeping in mind the fact that the structure is unique, we thing that it was a good decision. Not all the organizations focus on researching and then dealing with the diseases that is challenging the health of the children at the global level. And now, that one organization has come up with the idea and is practically ready to work on it then we guess that it should be encouraged to go on and execute the plan.