Bill Gates discusses his foundation, UCF technology on News 6 at Nine

Foundation releases annual letter to outline goals

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tech mogul Bill Gates joined News 6 at Nine on Tuesday to discuss his foundation and its goals for 2019.

Nearly 11 years ago, Gates left Microsoft, the software company he co-founded, to focus on his family's philanthropic organization.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest and most well-known charities in the world.

The couple released their annual letter Tuesday on CBS-TV, addressing how the foundation is improving worldwide issues.

"In this year's annual letter, we're highlighting nine more things that have surprised us along this journey. Some worry us. Others inspire us. All of them are prodding us to action," Bill Gates said.

Gates then joined News 6 at Nine to provide more details.

He discussed how his foundation partnered with DNA-testing company 23andMe to learn more about pre-term births, which is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years old.

After women who took the DNA test indicated they had a history of premature delivery, specialists analyzed the results pattern and realized that a selenium mineral deficiency resulted in a higher chance of premature birth, according to Gates.

"We realized that there's a lot of women in the world who aren't getting much of that selenium, so we've got a trial out and we're optimistic that that's actually going to reduce the amount of premature births, which has actually not been well understood. It's only with the latest tools, teaming up with the greatest scientists, we feel that we're going to come up with ideas and take what is over 10 percent of all births and cut that down dramatically," Gates said.

He also had high praise for the University of Central Florida's online degree program and how the school helps students with low-income backgrounds succeed and graduate.

"Going to UCF and talking about how they were using online -- not just pure online but in a very hybrid way, they had been a pioneer on that -- that helped us understand how to spread that best practice out to universities all over the country," Gates said. 

He said these universities are making a big difference that can fall under the radar of people who don't look at the data. Gates also said his foundation is helping UCF look at its numbers to take its program to the next level.

You can watch the interview on News 6 or ClickOrlando.com.