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Since 1999, the Microsoft head Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have created the world’s largest philanthropy, with current assets of US$24.2 billion, and improving the health of the world’s poor is at the top of its agenda.

The Foundation’s interests have stretched from AIDS to reducing maternal mortality, bolstering nutrition, and improving treatment and prevention for several tropical diseases. Nearly half of the global health money has gone to vaccines, including a whopping US$750 million to the Vaccine Fund.

Now, in keeping with its recent growth spurt, the young foundation is increasing its staff and restructuring how it awards grants. The newly structured foundation will place even more emphasis on accountability and aggressively pursue projects that will mesh with its agenda.

Reference: Science 295, 2000 (2002)

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