Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge



Final Edition: August, 2006

Dear concerned global citizen,

In this final issue of the Rx for Survival newsletter, we thank you for becoming engaged in global health and share success stories that show us all the positive impact we can have towards improving the health of our global community. Though the Rx for Survival project is officially coming to an end, we also acknowledge the battle for basic health care and survival continues globally, and individuals can make a difference locally.

In just one year, Rx for Survival has brought together a diverse citizenry to address and help alleviate the world's health inequities, particularly the crisis of child mortality. Educators, journalists, religious leaders, policy makers, professionals, parents, students, and interested people like you form a constituency of informed and impassioned individuals that can carry on the momentum created by Rx for Survival and contribute to a long-term legacy of activism around global health and child survival.

With the compelling PBS documentary series, comprehensive Web site at PBS.org, and media coverage by TIME, NPR and The Penguin Press, Rx for Survival uniquely focused Americans' attention on global health crises and solutions. This "Journalism with a Conscience" (TIME, March 14, 2005) on "the most pressing issue of our time" (Hilts, Rx for Survival) reached an audience of more than 66 million Americans. And recently, the 27th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards recognized the Rx for Survival documentary with a nomination for Outstanding Informational Programming — Long Form. Winners will be announced September 25, 2006.

Across the country, the Rx for Child Survival campaign deepened public understanding and participation in global health. Nationwide, 21 community coalitions based at public television stations collectively held nearly 300 events that reached more than 122,000 people; 112 religious groups took part in the "Month of Prayer for Child Survival" on behalf of the world's children; and 70 student leaders on more than 40 campuses mobilized their peers around Rx for Child Survival. Additionally, the U.S. Senate raised the profile of global health by designating November 2005 a National Month of Global Health by way of a resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

Throughout the project, we've collected exemplary stories of people who are serving as an impetus for change in global health, especially service-minded youth. Here are some examples:

  • Hundreds of Girl Scout troops nationwide have earned an Rx for Survival participation patch by creating medical hygiene kits for children in developing countries that will give the shared benefits of a healthier life. The Girl Scouts Wilderness Road Council of Kentucky sent 800 hygiene kits to children and parents in India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Kosovo through Sesame Workshop's global outreach programs.

  • A high school senior in Eureka, California devised a project intent on preventing the spread of malaria among the people of Africa. Inspired by the Rx for Survival series, the student raised funds to purchase 62 insecticide-treated mosquito nets through the sales of her handmade chocolate roses.

  • A sixth grade reading class in Wayne, Pennsylvania who read about Rx for Child Survival in Time For Kids waged an inspired weeklong "penny war" that raised $1,885 for the campaign.

  • And, as part of the University Coalitions for Global Health (UCGH), two universities in Louisiana and West Virginia organized a "Mile of Change" fundraiser yielding $2,200 in Rx for Child Survival donations.

Adults have also become global health 'promoters' in their neighborhoods, jobs, and social networks. We've received more than 1,500 reports from people who have spread informed messages about global health, such as this viewer's report from Austin, Texas:

"I've been donating a lot of time Bzzing around my office to raise the consciousness of the people around me regarding the global child healthcare issue shown in Rx for Survival. My division has been extremely supportive of raising funds to donate to the cause. I helped to arrange a silent auction whose proceeds went to the Rx for Child Survival campaign. …We raised over $200 to donate to the cause and it was a huge success."

These are just a few of the extraordinary creative actions inspired by Rx for Child Survival. To sustain this important work, Rx for Survival has a number of initiatives that will endure over time as a way for global citizens to engage in the global health cause:

  • The Rx for Survival Teacher Guide for 7—12th grades enables educators to integrate topics covered in Rx for Survival into their science, social studies, and health curricula. The Teacher Guide can be downloaded at www.pbs.org/wgbh/rxforsurvival/series/teachers/index.html

  • The Rx for Survival Web site, pbs.org/rxforsurvival, provides users with a content-rich source to explore global health and get involved in giving children around the world a fighting chance at life.

  • An undergraduate course on global health will introduce students to current and emergent issues that affect the health of the global population. The course is co-developed by The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and will be available free to universities worldwide in Fall 2007 via MIT OpenCourseWare at ocw.mit.edu.

  • A Newsroom Guide to Global Health provides resources and tools that will facilitate more global health and child survival reporting in the United States. This guide can be downloaded at pressroom.wgbh.org/pages/rxgh.html#RxforChildSurvival-ImpactCampaign

Since launching in July 2005, the Rx for Child Survival campaign has raised $85,577.57 through 704 donations that will be provided to CARE and Save the Children child survival intervention projects in Nicaragua and Vietnam, respectively.

The awareness and interest generated from Rx for Child Survival will hopefully contribute to ongoing future opportunities for CARE, Save the Children, UNICEF, the Global Health Council, and all of our partners to ensure mothers and children reach their maximum potential in health and growth. For a limited time — from now until December 2006 — donations to Rx for Child Survival can still be made online through the Rx for Child Survival Web site at www.pbs.org/wgbh/rxforsurvival/campaign/donate/index.html

We entered into this project to raise awareness through journalistic and educational efforts; we hoped to demonstrate how multimedia could engage and empower people to take action and advocate for change. We thank everyone who has participated, whether on a personal or public level. You have inspired us, and we hope you will keep up the good work!

We also hope that you will support our project partners and related organizations who continue the fight for better health for all:

CARE: www.careusa.org
Save the Children: www.savethechildren.org
Global Health Council: www.globalhealth.org
UNICEF: www.unicefusa.org

American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org
American Public Health Association: www.apha.org
The CORE Group: www.coregroup.org
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization: www.gavialliance.org
Girl Scouts of the USA: www.girlscouts.org
National Public Health Information Coalition: www.nphic.org
Pan American Health Organization: www.paho.org
Rotary International: www.rotary.org
United Nations Association—USA: www.unausa.org
U.S. Coalition for Child Survival: www.child-survival.org

Additional global health and relief organizations: www.pbs.org/wgbh/rxforsurvival/campaign/donate/ other-opportunities.html

And in January 2007, PBS will continue its commitment to health programming and community outreach with the PBS Health Initiative, which seeks to inform and inspire Americans to improve their health. "The Hidden Epidemic: Heart Disease in America" premieres in January followed in April by a special on obesity.

Kind regards,
The Rx for Survival project

About Rx for Survival

A multi-media project that includes a six-hour PBS television series airing November 1-3, 2005, Rx for Survival — A Global Health Challenge™ is a co-production of the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit and Vulcan Productions, Inc.

Rx for Child Survival — A Global Health Challenge™, a project of the WGBH Educational Foundation and Vulcan Productions, Inc. in collaboration with CARE and Save the Children, and in association with The Global Health Council and UNICEF, urges Americans to get informed and involved in making a difference in the lives of young children around the world.

Major funding for Rx for Survival — A Global Health Challenge is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Merck Company Foundation.

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Visit the Rx for Survival Web site at http://www.pbs.org/rxforsurvival to check out the program descriptions and get more information about the project and partners. We also welcome your questions, comments, and feedback. Submit them at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/rxforsurvival/feedback/index.html


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