Prophets make us uncomfortable. The gospel reading today from Mark is about the death of John the Baptist. Herod killed John the Baptist because he made his wife uncomfortable.
Today, Bill Gates made some people uncomfortable.
“Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,” he yelled to the crowd attending the elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference today, before unleashing the insects, which were not carrying the disease. “I brought some. Here I’ll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected.”
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
- A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.
- There were 247 million cases of malaria in 2006, causing about 880,000 deaths, mostly among African children.
- Malaria is preventable and curable.
- Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries.
- Travellers from malaria-free areas to disease “hot spots” are especially vulnerable to the disease.
- Malaria takes an economic toll – cutting economic growth rates by as much as 1.3% in countries with high disease rates.
Gates said that more money was being spent finding a cure for baldness than developing drugs to combat malaria. “Now, baldness is a terrible thing and rich men are afflicted,” he joked. “That is why that priority has been set.
“The market does not drive scientists, thinkers, or governments to do the right things. Only by paying attention and making people care can we make as much progress as we need to.”
He called for greater distribution of insect nets and other protective gear, and revealed that an anti-malaria vaccine funded by his foundation and currently in development would enter a more advanced testing phase in the coming months.
It would be easy to have an argument about whether or not Bill Gates is a prophet, but today he performed a prophetic act. He spoke up for what is right. Those of us who call ourselves Christians need to be more like John the Baptist, and Bill Gates.
How can you help? Visit http://www.malarianomore.org/ to donate or get involved in advocacy.