World Pneumonia Day?

May 12 2009

Last month, to celebrate World Health Day, a group of organizations and activists launched an effort to encourage the United Nations to declare November 2nd as World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia which is the leading killer of children around the world taking upwards of 2 million lives of children under 5 every year is rarely discussed in the media as a childhood killer and is often thought of only as a disease of the elderly. In communities around the world, it is often unrecognized and untreated - and simple cases become more severe and more costly to treat. Save the Children Artist Ambassador, Hugh Laurie, commented, "I work on a TV show that features the unusual, the bizarre, the unique. But the cases on House are brightly-colored minnows compared to the leviathan of pneumonia. It's so big, you couldn't make a TV show about it. But you could change it. So could I. We can and must change it."

May 10, 2009 Op-Ed Columnist

The Killer No One Suspects


On this Mother's Day, let's not only reach for flowers and dinners but also think of how we might make motherhood itself a bit happier.

One answer would be to confront the disease that kills more children than any other around the world. Quick, what do you think that might be? Hint: It's not diarrheal disease (the No. 2 killer), malaria, measles or AIDS.

A further hint: It was threatening to kill an 18-month-old boy, Ousseynou Thiam, in a hospital in Dakar, Senegal. He lay on his back, his chest heaving, struggling frantically for breath, as his mother, Khady Thiam, hovered over him, her eyes ablaze with fear.

"He's very seriously ill, for he's not getting oxygen," said the doctor, Boubacar Camara. "It's too soon to tell what will happen. He may live. Or he may die."

I'm taking a University of South Carolina sophomore, Paul Bowers, with me on my third "win-a-trip" journey through Africa, and watching a child at the edge of death marked a somber first leg of our trip. But traveling with a student gives me an excuse to step back and focus on immense challenges that we in journalism neglect because they're not new enough to be "news."

One of these is pneumonia, the ailment that was threatening to destroy not only Khady's Mother's Day but also her child's chance of living even one more day. Pneumonia gets very little attention from donors or the public health community, yet it kills more than two million children a year, according to Unicef and the World Health Organization.

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Survey about U.S. Role in Global Health Reports That Americans Want to Take Care of Problems at Home First in a Recession, But Say Don't Cut Funding For Global Health and Development

May 7, 2009

Two-thirds of the public supports maintaining (39%) or increasing (26%) U.S. government funding to improve health in developing countries, while fewer than a quarter (23%) say the government is spending too much on global health, according to this survey of the American people's attitudes towards U.S. global health and development assistance.  Levels of support are similar for spending to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries, although the public's sense of urgency about the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world has declined.  However, perhaps not surprisingly given the current recession, the vast majority (71%) of Americans say that given today's serious economic problems the U.S. can't afford to spend more on global health right now.

The survey of Americans on the U.S. role in global health was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation.  It was conducted January 26 through March 8, 2009 (before the international outbreak of the H1N1 influenza A virus), among a nationally representative random sample of 2,554 adults ages 18 and older.  Telephone interviews conducted by landline (N=1,951) and cell phone (N=603, including 214 who had no landline telephone) were carried out in English and Spanish.  The survey includes oversamples of African American and Latino respondents as well as respondents ages 18-29.  Results for all groups have been weighted to reflect their actual distribution in the nation.  The margin of sampling error for the overall survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points.  Most questions reported here were asked of a random half-sample of respondents and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.  For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.


Office of the Press Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 May 5, 2009




In the 21st century, disease flows freely across borders and oceans, and, in recent days, the 2009 H1N1 virus has reminded us of the urgent need for action.  We cannot wall ourselves off from the world and hope for the best, nor ignore the public health challenges beyond our borders.  An outbreak in Indonesia can reach Indiana within days, and public health crises abroad can cause widespread suffering, conflict, and economic contraction.  That is why I am asking Congress to approve my Fiscal Year 2010 Budget request of $8.6 billion -- and $63 billion over six years -- to shape a new, comprehensive global health strategy.  We cannot simply confront individual preventable illnesses in isolation. The world is interconnected, and that demands an integrated approach to global health.


As a U.S. Senator, I joined a bipartisan majority in supporting the Bush Administration’s effective President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  That plan has provided lifesaving medicines and prevention efforts to millions of people living in some of the world’s most extreme conditions.  Last summer, the Congress approved the Lantos-Hyde US Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS Act -- legislation that I was proud to cosponsor as a U.S. Senator and now carry out as President.  But I also recognize that we will not be successful in our efforts to end deaths from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis unless we do more to improve health systems around the world, focus our efforts on child and maternal health, and ensure that best practices drive the funding for these programs.


My budget makes critical investments in a new, comprehensive global health strategy.  We support the promise of PEPFAR while increasing and enhancing our efforts to combat diseases that claim the lives of 26,000 children each day.  We cannot fix every problem. But we have a responsibility to protect the health of our people, while saving lives, reducing suffering, and supporting the health and dignity of people everywhere. America can make a significant difference in meeting these challenges, and that is why my Administration is committed to act.




FACT SHEET: American Leadership on Global Health


President Obama believes that it is in keeping with America’s values and our history of compassion to lead an effort to solve some of the most serious problems facing the world’s poorest people.  Already, American leadership, sparked in large part by President George W. Bush and a bipartisan majority in Congress, has helped to save millions of lives from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.  Yet, even with that monumental progress, 26,000 children around the world die every day from extreme poverty and preventable diseases. 


In response, the President’s 2010 Budget begins to focus attention on broader global health challenges, including child and maternal health, family planning, and neglected tropical diseases, with cost effective intervention.  It also provides robust funding for HIV/AIDS.  The initiative adopts a more integrated approach to fighting diseases, improving health, and strengthening health systems.


The U.S. global health investment is an important component of the national security “smart power” strategy, where the power of America’s development tools -- especially proven, cost-effective health care initiatives -- can build the capacity of government institutions and reduce the risk of conflict before it gathers strength.  In addition, the Administration’s funding plan can leverage support from other nations and multilateral partners so that the world can come closer to achieving the health Millennium Development Goals.  Discussions are underway with the G-8 partners on fulfilling all of the commitments.  This comprehensive global health approach can yield significant returns by investing in efforts to:


·        Prevent millions of new HIV infections;

·        Reduce mortality of mothers and children under five, saving millions of lives;

·        Avert millions of unintended pregnancies; and

·        Eliminate some neglected tropical diseases.


To reach these goals, the Budget invests $63 billion cumulatively over six years (2009-2014) for global health programs.  PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) will constitute more than 70 percent of global health funding.




($ in billions)

FY 2009 Enacted

FY 2010 Budget

Change FY10 from FY09

Six-Year Total (FY09 – FY14)

(Global HIV/AIDS & TB)










PEPFAR & Malaria Subtotal





Global Health

Priorities Subtotal











Moving forward, the Obama Administration will work with key stakeholders to deliver new congressionally mandated strategic plans for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.  These plans will be coordinated as part of the comprehensive global health strategy to identify specific initiatives, quantitative goals, and appropriate funding levels beginning in 2011.

By Jenny Eaton Dyer

The 2009 CMT Music Awards show is coming up June 17.

This year the Lost Trailers have been nominated for Group Video of the Year Award. If they win this fan-based award, they have indicated that their donation will go to HOPE THROUGH HEALING HANDS as their charity of choice for their $2500 award!

Again, this is a fan-voted awards show, and voting has already begun on at and the first round of voting will continue through May 19th.

Please VOTE for THE LOST TRAILERS to win this award for Hope Through Healing Hands! Every vote counts.

We're honored that Ryder Lee and the guys have chosen us this year. Many, many thanks.



By Jenny Eaton Dyer

For years, Third Day has worked with me and the ONE Campaign promoting awareness and advocacy for global HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. They are a shining example in the Music Community of how artists can educate and activate their fanbase to do good in the world.

Recently, I ran into them at Nashville4Africa concert in Nashville, Tennessee. It was so great to see them and to hear about their latest work.

A Conversation with Bill Frist

by Dorinda Elliott | Published April 2009 | See more Condé Nast Traveler articles

The Bio
Claim to Fame: Heart surgeon; Republican Senate majority leader, 2003-2007.
Activist: Works with the nonpartisan One Campaign to raise awareness of poverty.
Board Member: U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides aid to countries with good governance and economic freedom.around the world.
Obsession: Traveling the world—to Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Rwanda in recent months—for Save the Children.

CNT: Do you think global poverty will get more attention under the Obama administration?

Frist: I hope so. But with the financial crisis it will be hard to match the Bush administration's dramatic growth rates in expenditures for global poverty reduction.

CNT: How did you get so involved in international work?

Frist: I took my three boys to Africa on a safari in the mid-'90s, and my eyes really opened up. I've been back practically every year, traveling and doing medical-mission work.

CNT: What is it about Africa that grabs you?

Frist: There's a primal feeling, a oneness with nature and humanity that you experience when you are immersed in the beauty of the landscape and in the spirit of the people. I recall vividly being in the southern Sudan, in the middle of a civil war, launching a small clinic that now serves a 300-mile radius.

CNT: You took your kids to places few would even dare visit.

Frist: Travel provides life lessons. It's good to get out of your comfort zone. You learn that we're all created equal, that everyone has dignity. It makes my sons better people. I've taken my boys to the Sudan, to the Nuba Mountains, which were completely cut off from foreign aid, and to the Darfur region. I wanted to expose them to things they would never see otherwise. In the Nuba region, while I was meeting in a hut by the airstrip, my ten-year-old, Bryan, was wrestling with a young Nuba boy. Wrestling is a Nuba tradition. Thousands of people showed up. They had never seen a blond child before.

CNT: Do you think travelers want to be challenged like that?

Frist: Most people are looking for original experiences when they travel. They want to participate.

CNT: You work with Save the Children. Why this cause?

Frist: Some 27,000 children die every day—two-thirds of them needlessly. Their lives can be saved with inexpensive medicines and techniques that we know work.

CNT: You talk about the social benefits of medical work too.

Frist: Medicine and healing are a currency for peace. People don't go to war with people who save their children's lives. In the Sudan, I performed surgery in a schoolroom without running water. People came—good guys and bad guys, rebels and officials—out of trust. The clinic we built shows how peace can come to an area where health care is being delivered.

CNT: What's the best way to deal with AIDS?

Frist: I am a strong proponent of the use of anti-retroviral treatments, but you can't treat your way out of the crisis. Prevention is the key. The most important thing is education for young girls.

CNT: The U.S. AIDS initiative promotes abstinence. AIDS activists have criticized you for underestimating the role of condoms. Do you support their use?

Frist: Of course. As a physician and policymaker, I strongly support condom distribution as a means to prevent the spread of HIV. I have consistently supported legislation that includes prevention, care, and treatment.

CNT: Is the $15 billion AIDS initiative in Africa helping?

Frist: Absolutely. I met a mother in Nairobi whose husband had HIV/AIDS. Thanks to American HIV treatments, her little girl is living a full life. So she named her America.

Now Playing Nashville

Senator Bill and Karyn Frist invite you to join them for a Spring Reception fundraiser to celebrate the work of Hope Through Healing Hands, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to promote improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. This event will benefit Global Health Scholars Fellowships.

In 2009-2010, Hopoe Through Healing Hands will sponsor Global Health Scholars from Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Vanderbilt School of Nursing, Meharry Medical College and East Tennessee State University to travel to underserved areas to promote peace through health in communities and clinical settings. These students will spend a semester (or year) focusing on service and training to those in need in order to bolster health care in forgotten corners of the world.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact: Jenny Dyer

April 17, 2009                                                                            (615) 818-5579

Frist Global Health Scholars Program Offers Funding for

Students to do Service, Training Abroad

Nashville, Tenn. - Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. has committed to providing fellowships for students at Vanderbilt School of Nursing (2 students), Vanderbilt School of Medicine (1 student), and Meharry Medical College (1 student) to commit to providing health service and training in underserved communities for one semester during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Frist states, "We are excited to launch this program right here in Nashville. We have stellar students who represent America's concern for the world's poorest. From my own experience on medical missions in Sudan and Congo, providing health to a community can mean establishing a foundation of peace. And where there is peace, commerce and society can begin to flourish. These students will not only transform the lives of those whom they will touch with their care, but they will also transform the way others see America."

Sten Vermund, Director of the Instutute for Global Health at Vanderbilt's School of Medicine notes, "The Frist Scholars fill an important gap in opportunity for Vanderbilt and Meharry medical students and Vanderbilt nursing students, namely the opportunity to work overseas in a focused service capacity."

"The Frist Global Health Scholars program is an exceptional opportunity for Vanderbilt medical and nursing students to expand the scope of their training beyond traditional settings, while providing much needed care for underserved communities in resource limited countries. The mentored training affords students invaluable insight into healthcare delivery systems in challenging settings that can be applied around the world as well as here in the United States," reports Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Jeff Balser.

Susan DeReimer, associate professor of biomedical medicine and Director of the Center for Global Health at Meharry Medical College explains, "The Hope Through Healing Hands Global Scholars program is providing students, already dedicated to Meharry's mission of service to underserved communities, an invaluable opportunity to extend their vision beyond the borders of this country.  Their experience abroad will make them better doctors and better able to meet the health care challenges of an increasingly interconnected world, whether they are practicing in Tennessee or Tanzania."

Colleen Conway-Welch, Dean of Vanderbilt University's School of Nursing commends, "Hope through Healing Hands is an overwhelming example of health as an instrument of peace. I cannot think of a more effective tool of diplomacy."

The students selected this year will be traveling to Guatemala, Peru, Rwanda, and Tanzania working on issues of infant mortality/maternal health, child survival, diabetes, and infectious disease. They will bolster health services in clinics needing additional support, and they will be offering training to local community health workers with a goal toward sustainable health care.


 Hope through Healing Hands is a 501(c)3 promoting improved quality of life for communities around the world using health as a currency for peace.






A Healthy Populace Requires More Than Medical Care

April 9, 2009, 10:34 a.m.
By Bill Frist
Special to Roll Call

In the halls of Congress, most attention regarding our nation's health focuses on reforming our health care system. But health and health care are not the same, and health reform alone won't improve the health of all - or even most - Americans.

Consider this: For the first time in our history, the United States is raising a generation of children who may very well live shorter, sicker lives than their parents.

Shocking but true.

Across the board, Americans are not nearly as healthy as we could be. That's true of our children, too, regardless of their families' income, education and race or ethnicity. Nationally and in every state, even children in the most advantaged families could be much healthier.

That's why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America just released a report urging citizens and leaders alike to incorporate health into all aspects of everyday life and decision-making - from education to child care to community planning to business practices.

The commission's charge was to find sensible solutions outside the medical care system that will help improve the health of all Americans. Because research demonstrates that early childhood has a tremendous impact on a person's health across a lifetime, our recommendations focus heavily on support for children and families. This is where our best investments lie, an important consideration given the nation's current financial problems.

And the sooner we make these investments, the better. We ask Congress to significantly increase support of early childhood development programs for very young children in low-income families. This is not just about how many dollars we spend; it's about doing what's best for our country's future.

One may ask: What do education and child care have to do with health? A lot, as it turns out. A good education will help lay the foundation for a healthy life.

As a doctor, I know firsthand that poor health rarely occurs in a vacuum. It is shaped by many factors, including education and family income and the resources and opportunities they provide, like access to nutritious food and adequate housing.

In other words, health has more to do with how and where we live than whether and how often we see a doctor. Generally, we see a doctor when we're sick. The ideal is not to get sick in the first place. Since medical care accounts for only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of preventable mortality, we need to focus on these other, more powerful social factors.

Take education, for example. Every child should have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. Poor education can lead to limited job options and lower income, which in turn can limit a family's chances to live in healthy homes and neighborhoods.

And guess what: People who have more education tend to live longer than people who don't. On average, college graduates can expect to live five years longer than people who haven't finished high school.

What distresses me most is the prospect of the lifetime of poor health, limited opportunities and lost potential that so many children face.

Health reform alone won't solve this problem. If we addressed education, child care and other social issues as part and parcel of health, we wouldn't have so much illness in this country. But instead of ensuring that our children are growing up healthy, we are pouring money into medical care for adults whose illness or disability might have been prevented. That makes no sense.

I challenge our nation's leaders - not only here in Washington, D.C., but in every sector across the country - to think outside the box. Yes, health care reform is critical. But let's not fool ourselves that it's the be-all and end-all to improving health for all Americans. Let's broaden our view of what health really means and all that we can do to achieve better health.

By focusing on children and their families, we can help ensure that today's healthy youngsters are tomorrow's healthy adults. We must give children the support they need in their most formative years - not just access to medical care but also high-quality early education and child care. Let's alter our current course and give our children better lives.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.

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