Mr. Todd Summers, senior program officer for global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke at a roundtable in Tokyo organized by JCIE on October 22, 2009. Mr. Summers, who is responsible for leading the foundation’s multilateral relations team, said that the foundation strongly believes in partnerships because, despite being a major player in the global health field, it is small compared with the major bilateral donors but too big to conduct many crucial activities that grassroots organizations are much better situated to do.
At the event, he elaborated on the foundation’s advocacy efforts as well as on the ways the foundation supports organizations such as GAVI, the Global Fund, and UNITAID as part of its global health program. In keeping with the foundation’s emphasis on research, development, and technology transfer, he explained that many of the foundation’s grantees, while US-based, actually partner with developing-country researchers and institutions. Participants in the roundtable included government officials, scholars, and representatives from major Japanese NGOs. During the course of his stay in Tokyo, Mr. Summers also met with Diet members from both parties, high-level ministry officials, and prominent intellectuals involved in global health issues.