Former UNAIDS Executive Director Piot To Serve as Senior Fellow at Gates Foundation Until May
Peter Piot, former executive director of UNAIDS and co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, will serve as a top adviser on global health strategy to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation until May, when he will launch a global health program at the Imperial College London, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Piot said that his goal is to help the Gates Foundation assess how to take the next steps in advancing global health (Paulson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/15). "I am encouraged by the growing enthusiasm and support for improving health in the developing world," Piot said, adding, "The Gates Foundation has played a central role in making this progress possible, and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at the foundation to build on this momentum." Calling Piot "a rigorous scientist and a passionate advocate for global health," Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation's Global Health Program, said, "The foundation and our partners will benefit greatly from his deep experience and his insight into the health challenges facing developing countries" (Gates Foundation release, 1/15).
According to the Post-Intelligencer, Piot sees bolstering developing countries' health systems as "the next challenge" in global health. Now the "main activity" of UNAIDS, health delivery improvement is "getting far more attention than it used to," Piot said. He also said that many are looking for funding from the Gates Foundation to strengthen health systems, but it is not always clear what needs to be done or if the problem is with the health care system. "One of the biggest scandals of our time is that half a million women still die every year giving birth," Piot said. He added many of these deaths are due to ignorance and a lack of basic information, as well as deficient health services (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/15).