The non-profit leader was the featured speaker at UCLA’s annual Arnold C. Harberger Distinguished Lecture on Economic Development. She spoke in conversation with Renée Montagne, the co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition.
Investing in women's health and family planning supports the whole community in sometimes unexpected ways, Gates said.
"If we invest in that lowest level, the primary healthcare system ... You can get unbelievable changes in maternal mortality and infant mortality," she said. "If you don't invest in that primary healthcare system, you don't have a chance when something like Ebola comes along."
Empowering women and girls in developing countries to decide whether and when to have a child is a key part of her work at the foundation, Gates said.