Bill Gates, the self-described "impatient optimist," this week released his 2013 letter. This annual thought piece is an opportunity for the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to present his observations on the state of global health and on the work done by his foundation, and talk about what he has learned.
The focus of the 2013 letter is on the importance of measurement in achieving great goals. It looks at how setting an important goal is not enough - being able to clearly measure results is absolutely key. Measurement - gathering, organizing and, above all, sharing data - allows people to see the progress being made.
Measurement also shows where progress is not being made - gaps in coverage, interventions that are not as effective as hoped, measurement tools that are difficult to implement. Measurement empowers decision-makers to share results and determine best practice. Above all, measurement allows implementers to demonstrate effectiveness by making a clear link between money and results.
Measurement - often referred to as monitoring and evaluation - is a cornerstone of the Global Fund's efforts. Every country is encouraged to devote up to ten percent of its grants to monitoring and evaluation.
The country will set its own targets and measure progress against those targets, and if a program does not "measure up" this data enables the country to take action - revamp a program, reallocate the money to other uses, or improve monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Measurement means that we can show how we are making progress in delivering solutions in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. Measurable progress.