November 3, 2014 2:04 PM EST

Bill Gates announced Sunday that his foundation would ramp up funding for its malaria program by about one-third, to more than $200 million per year, and detailed how the disease can be beat in his lifetime.

Gates made the announcement — alongside a larger commitment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of more than $500 million toward tackling the burden of infectious diseases in developing countries — at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which has long focused on an effective vaccine for malaria, estimated to kill more than 600,000 people worldwide every year.

“Some people said then (and still say today) that we’re overly optimistic to be talking about eradication. After all, malaria is an enormously complex target and has defeated efforts to stamp it out in the past,” he wrote in a corresponding blog post. “They’re right that we shouldn’t promise the moon—you don’t get rid of a disease this complex overnight—but I am confident that the future will be different from the past.”

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