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NOVA: Rx for Survival

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Global Health
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Special NOW Broadcast on Global Health, November 4, 2005

With a continuing and present terrorist threat to the United States, health issues facing other countries have taken a back seat to national defense and security. But experts argue that the health of people around the world has real and immediate consequences for America's citizens, economy and security. Those global health experts say shared solutions-research, medicine, technology and medical expertise-to common problems may be the only way to stem the spread of infectious diseases and that there are mutually beneficial economic advantages to cooperation. Critics say America's public policy has been slow to react. What does America's global health policy tell us about how it will deal with the crises that lay ahead?

Building on the three-night groundbreaking PBS special Rx for Survival-A Global Health Challenge, NOW presented a 90-minute broadcast on Friday, November 4, 2005 that looked at U.S. global health policy to assess where it has been and what the future holds. The program aired in two parts: a 30-minute David Brancaccio interview with former President Jimmy Carter, and a 60-minute documentary from award-winning producer Tom Casciato.

Through the behind-the-scenes perspectives of insiders, including scientists and government officials, NOW focused on the real stories behind the shaping of America's public policy. The program examined the key decisions that have had far-reaching consequences and provides an in-depth look at the U.S.'s current position on world health issues. With the continuing AIDS crisis at home and abroad, as well as SARS and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant viruses, NOW explores the potential real-world impact of health issues in developing countries on the United States.

"While the United States contributes more money to global health than any other nation, it spends only 0.1 percent of its gross national product on foreign aid, which is low compared with other developed countries," says NOW host David Brancaccio. "Our policy and our public must come to grips with the fact that this isn't just about humanitarianism anymore. It is in America's interest to be a true global partner when it comes to health issues."

In "Global Health: Today's Challenge" NOW's David Brancaccio takes on the latest news about global health issues in a long-form interview with former President Jimmy Carter, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of those in the world afflicted with disease who are isolated, forgotten, and ignored. Carter just returned from Ethiopia in his fight against Trachoma, a painful and debilitating disease that causes blindness.

As part of this special programming NOW's host David Brancaccio took part in the the TIME Global Health Summit in New York City. David Brancaccio is moderating "Beyond Charity: Can Global Health be Good Business?" Find out more about the summit. (PDF)

Explore NOW's special Global Health coverage

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