Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation backs ABC

Supports yearlong network health series with $1.5 mil grant

NEW YORK - ABC News will in December launch a year-long health series called "Be The Change: Save A Life," which will focus on diseases and health conditions that disproportionately affect the world's poorest people.

ABC News said Wednesday it will invest $4.5 million in the year-long reporting project, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation providing a $1.5 million grant that will help fund foreign travel and production costs abroad. ABC News has complete editorial control over the series' content.

"World News" anchor Diane Sawyer and ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser will lead the effort, which will include reports across programs and distribution platforms.

Malaria, polio, HIV and inadequate care for newborns are among the topics that the series will put into the spotlight.