Reflecting on the Time Summit on Global Health

These are a few reflections on the Time
Summit on Global Health.

A few reflections on the Time Summit on Global Health.

Rock and Roll Philanthropy: We live in a celebrity culture. It’s easier to get attention for your message if you have a celebrity. However, the message is more important than celebrity, according to Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA which works with Bono and the One Campaign. Drummond is firmly committed to celebrity advocacy. He considers rock stars, actors and megachurch pastors as those he cultivates. He looks for substance, media savvy and authentic commitment when engaging with celebrities in the One Campaign. He spoke of four P’s that guide messages of the One Campaign: Positive, Practical, Prophetic, Pragmatic.

Access and Community-based Health Care: To ask doctors, nurses and other providers to give up on treating people because they are too poor (to pay) was never acceptable,” said Dr. Paul Farmer. We’ve come a long way in the last decade but we still have a long way to go. We have many of the tools we need to fight the diseases of poverty but we still live with the idea that spending public money for health care is diverting resources away from other uses or away from neglected diseases. This is a myth. Treatment supervised by medical professionals and community-based health providers is simply better care. We need to better pay for community health workers who themselves live in poverty.

The Role of Faith-based Organizations: We must confront spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, pandemic diseases and illiteracy, Pastor Rick Warren told the Summit. The role for religious organizations is clear. In many countries religion is the only network with an effective infrastructure. The church is bigger than any government in the world. An army of compassion is waiting to be released.

The Role of Media: Media are life-saving tools, according to Bishop Joo Somane Machado of The United Methodist Church of Mozambique. Bishop Machado held up a hand crank radio and explained that people gather around such radios after their workday and listen. He said messages delivered by local persons on community radio stations are heard and trusted. He called for more community-based radio stations and the distribution of hand-crank and solar-powered radio receivers for remote audiences in rural areas. Echoing this analysis was Pat Mitchell, head of Public Broadcasting Service, who said, “Media is the vaccine.” She noted that in some African countries studies have shown that 85% of the young adults report the only information they receive about HIV/AIDS comes from media sources. In the U.S. she said, 70% of youth report media as their source of information. In this context media can save lives.

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