Medicine and Health

What big global health issues are we facing today?
Answered by Timothy E. Wirth
  • Timothy E. Wirth

    Timothy E. Wirth

  1. Timothy E. Wirth President, United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund


    Well, we [at the U.N. Foundation] are concerned about, you know, the prevention side, and we have two major areas that we're focused on. One is the issues of reproductive health, and that's making sure that family planning services and information are available to the 200 million couples in the world that don't have access and, also, doing what we can to make sure that the focus on the dreadful disease of AIDS is placed as much on prevention as it is on treatment. We're not going to be able to solve the AIDS problem by treatment, treatment, treatment. That's just too expensive. We don't have the money. We don't have the political commitment. So we've got to do a better job of prevention.

    So, on the whole, we want to prevent abortions. We want to prevent unwanted children. We want to prevent AIDS. I mean, the reproductive health issue is very much a prevention issue.

    The same thing applies in the side of children's health, where we have a large and remarkably successful program on measles where we've practically eliminated deaths from measles in Africa, and we're now moving into India.

    We have another major partner, another major project on malaria where we have focused especially on prevention there with the distribution of bed nets and a big program in the United States called "Nothing But Nets." You know, buy a bed net, save a life. And the overall rubric -- we've got a lot of sports teams and so on supporting this -- is "Nothing But Nets." And that's a major emphasis for us.

    And we've teamed with the Rotary International and the Center for Disease Control and the Gates Foundation with a big program to see if we can complete the eradication of polio. So those are three major initiatives of ours.

    Again, to go back, a lot of these build around girls. A lot of them build around healthcare for women, and that's sort of a uniting theme in all of the population and health issues for us.

    More answers from Timothy E. Wirth »

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