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Do they know Gates’ time is almost over ?

By Kristof Decoster
on November 18, 2014

There’s no escape these days – Band Aid (version 4) is back. I’m a big fan of the cheesy song, so I’m already wandering in the streets of Antwerp to my institute in the morning, humming  the old lyrics from 1984 – I’m stuck in time, I’m afraid. For a rather thorough deconstruction of the new and old lyrics, see this piece in the Guardian.

I thought I’d give it a go for a global health version from a few years ago, with a section towards the end, adjusted to 2014).  


(Lyrics mid-2000s)

It’s Gates Time there’s no need to be afraid (Bill himself)

At Gates Time we let in Bill and we banish all politics

And in our world of severe health inequity (that would have to be Margaret Chan)

We can spread a smile of joy

Throw your arms around Bill & Melinda

At Gates time!


( here comes Jim Kim)

But say a prayer

Pray for the other ones

At Gates Time it’s hard

But even when you get the money from Seattle


(David Mc Coy goes …)

There’s a world outside your institute’s window

And it’s a world of dread and fear

Where the only manna flowing is

The bitter sting of Grand Challenges,  PPPs and multi-stakeholder governance

And the Gates bells that are ringing

Are clanging chimes of doom


(director of random global health institute, coached by Bono himself) Well, tonight thank God’s it’s us inste-a-a-a-d of them (who got the grant)!



And there won’t be health systems in Africa this Gates time …

The greatest gift they’ll get this year is a Grand Challenges grant or a disease control program (   o-o-oh  (Martin McKee) )

At least If they’re innovative, entrepreneurial  and cost-effective

Do they know it’s Gates Time at all?


Feed the global health institutes and partners in the South but definitely also in the North

Let them know it’s Gates time (if they don’t know already)

Feed the  global health institutes

Let them know it’s Gates time

Do they know it’s Gates Time at all?


(a thundering Richard Horton –  2014 version)

Here’s to Big Soda, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma and Big Food

Raise a glass for everyone

Here’s to JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and all the rest of the tax optimizers

Underneath their scorching reign

Do they know (with Piketty around) Gates’ time is almost over at all?


Strengthen health systems in Africa and around the world ! (Rob Yates dominating the choir now)

Let them know Gates’ time is almost over !

Strengthen health systems in Africa and around the world!

Let them know even Bill himself got a change of heart!


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