To address global poverty, first fight for global health

The Charlotte Observer
By William H. Frist
Special to The Observer

U.S. initiatives are building water and sanitation systems to help children in Mozambique. FILE PHOTO

Here's the fundamental truth: Developing countries will not grow out of poverty if their citizens are sick. As a physician, I've listened to people in the clinic beds of some of the world's poorest communities. They cannot think about lifting themselves out of poverty and contributing to the economic growth of their countries as they face daunting health risks.

U.S. support for global health – especially through the innovative use of development assistance – will continue to deliver life-saving returns. Recognizing that the interconnected world demands an integrated approach to global health, President Obama unveiled a bold initiative last week to invest $63 billion over six years in a comprehensive global health strategy. This smart use of resources improves the health of the world's poorest and strengthens the global economic climate for us all.

Healthy workforce is neededEconomists would argue that one of the surest ways out of poverty is for people to increase their incomes to take care of themselves and their families. For incomes to rise, developing economies must work to generate growth opportunities through trade and commerce, reliable infrastructure, and sound policies that create and sustain jobs for the poor.


When the poor are stricken by disease and weak health, they are unable to take advantage of these opportunities. Rather than climbing out of poverty, they fall deeper into it. It's clear that economic development and human development are intertwined. Growth needs a healthy workforce. The productivity and development of communities – and their ability to participate in the global economy – rely on the physical well-being of citizens to innovate, build, harvest, and work. Sustaining such productivity requires children to learn in school, not fall behind because they are too sick to concentrate. By building healthier, hopeful, and productive communities, we build safer and more secure societies that can alleviate global poverty and contribute to global prosperity. When communities are productive and thriving they don't become breeding grounds for dangerous extremism.

We need to rethink America's global health diplomacy within this context. It is more than doctor-patient relationships or medicines to relieve immediate symptoms. To date, Congress authorized billions to combat global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria to demonstrate America's commitment to this issue. These are important steps, but we must not overlook other factors that directly affect global health. Roads, for example, are essential not only to transport crops to market to generate livelihoods for farmers but also to provide them access to health clinics. Reliable water and sanitation systems are vital community services, but also reduce deadly water-borne diseases.

Development assistance through the federal government's Millennium Challenge Corporation takes a holistic approach to global health, laying the groundwork for poverty reduction and economic development. MCC awards assistance to countries already committed to practicing sound policies that invest in human development. The policy factors MCC uses to determine with whom to partner include a country's immunization rates, total public expenditure on health and commitment to combating corruption, which siphons resources away from healthcare.

Helping across the worldThese policies support results-oriented health programs, like building clinics, delivering immunizations, fighting HIV/AIDS, and expanding prevention initiatives. For instance, in Indonesia more than three million children under the age of one received measles and DPT3 vaccines. More than 3,463 participants attended awareness and prevention sessions in Cape Verde on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. MCC partners are building roads to connect communities and health clinics. Mozambique is constructing water and sanitation systems. And, coordination between PEPFAR and MCC is strengthening health systems in Lesotho. By deepening support for effective development assistance, like MCC grants, Congress stands in solidarity with the world's poor and invests in their health and productivity.


Eradicating global poverty starts with the health of the world's poor. It starts with empowering them physically to contribute to the vitality of their countries. This benefits them as much as the rest of us, who want healthy partners with which to trade and do business. This makes as much good sense for the world's poor as for our collective international economic growth.

Republican former Sen. Bill Frist, M.D., is the former U.S. Senate Majority leader and a member of the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Board of Directors.

Leading U.S. and Russian Experts Hold Dialogue: Agree to Work toward Future Joint Initiatives in Global Health

Led by Fmr. Senate Majority Leader Frist and Russian Duma Committee on Health Protection Vice-Chair Gerasimenko

May 13 2009


Leading US and Russian Experts hold dialogue led by Fmr. Sen. Maj Leader Frist and Russian Duma Committee on Health Protection Vice-Chair Gerasimenko:


Agree to work toward Future Joint Initiatives in Global Heath


WASHINGTON, May 13, 2009 - The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Russia-Eurasia Program and the CSIS Center on Global Health Policy yesterday (Tuesday, May 12) hosted a panel of twelve leading Russian and American experts in global health policy to examine their respective nations' experiences in infectious disease surveillance, health systems reform, chronic disease, and global health partnership and leadership.


Co-chaired by Senator William Frist, former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate and CSIS Trustee, and Dr. Nikolai Gerasimenko, First Vice Chair of the Russian Duma's Committee on Health Protection, the panel discussion entitled, "U.S.-Russian Collaboration for Global Health," weighed new ideas for future Russian-U.S. joint initiatives.


During their talks, the joint Russian-U.S. panel identified four key areas which hold considerable promise for future collaboration, including:


1. Measures to lower health risks associated with tobacco and alcohol use, especially among young people, including public education strategies and coordinated international efforts.

2. Continuing dialogue on enhanced surveillance systems and improvements in data use to facilitate the improved management of infectious and chronic disease.

3. An annual U.S.-Russia forum on reform of national health systems, with a special focus on financing, cost controls, and evaluation mechanisms. This forum would have the flexibility to broaden participation to other interested countries.

4. Expansion of existing successful research, institutional twinning and professional exchange programs to include an increased focus on emerging issues such as challenges in health care reform.


The panel's discussions underlined a strongly shared interest between the two nations in developing Russian-U.S. partnerships in the health sector. Such partnerships underscored a confidence among the group that cooperation in the global health sector can enhance the promising strategic reengagement currently under way between Russia and the United States. Moreover, the panel agreed that joint cooperation in this arena can demonstrate tangible value to the American and Russian public.


The panel discussions revealed that both official and non-governmental entities have essential contributions to make to this effort. Russia and the United States are each in the midst of historic efforts to reform their national health systems, bring about greater efficiencies in complex federal forms of government, and create healthier and safer populations.


Each nation also exercises important leadership on critical global health issues, including surveillance systems crucial to detecting and responding to newly emerging threats.


During the Cold War, Russia and the United jointly pioneered new vaccine technologies for use in global small pox and polio campaigns, and over the decades Russia and the United States have developed extensive legislative, scientific and research exchanges. These efforts have provided important foundations for current and future collaborations, the panel agreed.


For more information about the panel's discussions, please contact, CSIS Vice-President for External Relations, H. Andrew Schwartz by emailing [email protected] or calling (202) 775-3242.





The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and practical policy solutions to decision-makers.



H. Andrew Schwartz




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.

For the rest of the article: CLICK HERE.


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.

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