Top billionaires Gates, Slim launch health program for poor

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The world's top billionaires, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, will team up with the government of Spain in a 150-million dollar health initiative for poor people in Central America and Mexico, it was announced here Monday.

Funds for the "2015 Meso-American Health Initiative" will be shared equally by the three contributors and will go over the next five years to improve maternal health, nutrition, vaccination, anti-dengue and anti-malaria campaigns in the region.

The initiative was announced here Monday by Gates, Slim, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Spain's Princess Cristina.

The health initiative will be put to work in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

Gates said it was the first time his US-based Bill & Melinda Foundation has teamed up with Mexico's Carlos Slim Institute, but probably not the last.

Telecom mogul Slim, 50, topped Forbes magazine's world's richest list this year with a 53.5 billion dollar fortune. He bumped Gates, 54, to second place with 53 billion dollars.

© 2010 AFP

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