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Defining Global Health in the 21st Century

The Global Health Sciences symposium on Feb. 11 will officially launch GHS, founded in 2003 by Dr. Haile T. Debas to improve health and reduce the burden of disease worldwide.

Feachem addresses mobilizing global efforts
Global Fund Director returns to for Feb. symposium

Dr. Richard Feachem (photo by: Saul Bromberger)

The tsunami disaster has brought the plight of countless lives lost and suffering to the world stage. The imminent spread of disease and lack of medical attention for survivors has increased awareness on global health issues. These concerns are exactly what Dr. Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has been working on for the past 30 years.

Feachem, professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was the founding director of 's Institute for Global Health in 1999, appointed by then Dean Haile T. Debas. Feachem set its overall mission as improving health and increasing access to effective and affordable health services in all countries, according to IGH Interim Director Dr. George Rutherford.

Much of the conceptual work for the Global Fund was done at IGH by Dr. Feachem and Carol A. Medlin, PhD, said Rutherford. They explored the concept of a global public good and laid much of the practical groundwork for the malaria control aspects of the Global Fund through a comprehensive worldwide review of WHO's Roll Back Malaria program.

Feachem, a British national, was appointed the first Executive Director of the Global Fund in 2002. In two years, the fund has approved grants totaling $3.1 billion in 127 countries to fight the annual death toll of 6 million people due to AIDS, TB and Malaria. $253 million was allocated to four countries that sustained the most devastation by the tsunami- India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The Global Fund is three years old, said Feachem at a board meeting last November. And as it moves forward we face the dual challenge of making current grants work as quickly and effectively as possible and raising more money to meet the urgent need to scale up prevention and treatment in countries with acute needs.

Still holding a faculty appointment at , Feachem is returning to speak next month at a symposium to launch Global Health Sciences, a new campuswide initiative led by Executive Director Haile T. Debas.

Our program's launch would not be official without the presence of Richard Feachem whose vision and commitment to solving global health issues is a beacon for us, said Debas.

Global Health Sciences will be working with institutions around the world in health, biological, social, and policy sciences on a range of diseases that threaten this and future generations.

At the symposium, Feachem will focus on mobilizing an effective response to the global health crisis. The world faces a number of global health crises, said Feachem. Our response to these has been insufficient in scale and inappropriate in the balance between national and international responsibilities. This situation is beginning to change and these changes will be discussed with special reference to the work of the Global Fund and the need for larger and better coordinated efforts in the field of global health research.

Source: Suzie Larsen

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