BEIJING, June 8(Xinhuanet)-- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Monday that it would spend $1.5 billion over the next five years on maternal and child health, family planning and nutrition programs in developing countries.
Melinda Gates, whose husband Bill is co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and one of the world's richest people, made this announcement at an international conference on women's health attended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
This commitment is the second largest donation in the foundation's history, after a $10 billion pledge made in January to vaccine development and delivery over 10 years.
"Women and children have moved up on the global agenda, and I'm here to tell you that that's where they're going to stay. Every child is a promise. A promise for better future," said Gates. "It is that we haven't tried hard enough."
Also at the conference, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon announced a "joint action plan" to help save women and children. The plan calls on governments, nonprofit aid groups and UN agencies to provide money and services and to develop policies that will help countries meet goals set previously to reduce death rates among mothers and children.