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UW residents work with Kenyan medical students in Naivasha District Hospital. Photo Credit Paul J. Brown
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 By Sandi Doughton

With more than $40 billion in assets and the world’s richest man at the helm, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation might seem well-positioned to ride out any political storm.

But the Trump administration’s proposal to slash funding for the global health and development causes the Seattle foundation holds dear sent shivers through even the country’s most powerful philanthropy.

Against that backdrop, the Gates Foundation is launching yet another salvo in its ongoing battle to convince Americans and federal lawmakers that foreign-aid spending matters — by pointing out what could happen if that spending is cut.

Among the findings of a new analysis released Wednesday is that even a 10 percent reduction in funding for AIDS treatment and prevention could lead to an additional 5 million deaths, mostly in Africa, by 2030.

“We’re saying that progress is not inevitable,” Bill Gates said in a conference call with journalists from around the world. “ … It absolutely matters what happens here.”

The analysis from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is part of the foundation’s push to draw attention to global health progress and gaps in conjunction with next week’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

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The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent research center within UW Medicine and one of the Department of Global Health's key partners.