Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge



In this Issue

  1. Project News and Updates
  2. Web Site News and Updates
  3. Featured Links
  4. Rx for Child Survival ™ Campaign News and Updates
  5. Global Health Headlines
  6. Success Story: Avian Flu
  7. About Rx for Survival

Dear concerned global citizen,

Did you know that each year more than 10 million children under the age of five die each year — a majority from preventable causes — and experts agree that nearly all of them would have had a much better chance of life if they had access to simple, inexpensive health interventions. Imagine if your own child or grandchild, sibling or neighbor never celebrated her fifth birthday or his first day of kindergarten because:

  • She had no access to vaccines;

  • He had no insecticide-treated netting to protect him from mosquitoes while he slept;

  • She contracted pneumonia, but you couldn't get antibiotics to treat her;

  • He had diarrhea, but you had no way to rehydrate him;

  • Her food supply was so limited that she couldn't get the vitamin A or micronutrients she needed to grow healthy and strong;

  • His healthy mother didn't know that breastfeeding would make a difference;

If that happened, you'd stand up and demand a change, wouldn't you?

Together, we can ensure that children around the world receive these vital interventions. Please support Rx for Child Survival — A Global Health Challenge ™, a campaign to raise awareness and funds for global child health and survival, created by the WGBH Educational Foundation and Vulcan Productions, in collaboration with CARE, Save the Children, the Global Health Council and UNICEF. Your participation can have an immediate impact. Help us spread the word

and raise funds for basic child health interventions


And please read on for the latest on Rx for Survival.

Project News and Updates

Rx in the News
The broadcast of Rx for Survival — The Heroes garnered much attention from a variety of media. From TV Guide and The New York Times to USAToday.com and TIME.com, global health pioneers received well-deserved recognition for their heroism. If you missed the broadcast, see the Web Site News and Updates section below for more on how you can watch clips from the series online.

Rx for Survival to be Honored at Global Health Council's 2006 Annual Awards Banquet
Rx for Survival will receive The Global Health Excellence in Media Award at the Global Health Council's Annual Awards Banquet Evening Gala during the Council's 2006 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. This honor is given each year to a journalist (print, electronic, or visual) who has in the prior year most effectively captured the essence of a major issue in global health and conveyed it to a broad audience. The selection of the award recipient is based on the quality of the reporting as well as its wide reach amongst readers and viewers.

In addition to honoring journalism's commitment, the Global Health Council has long recognized real-life heroes for their outstanding work in and dedication to improving global health. Past honorees are among those featured in Rx for Survival — The Heroes special: The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC); Riders for Health and co-founders Andrea and Barry Coleman; Ram Shrestha, MS, senior associate for Community Health and Nutrition Initiatives of the International Science and Technology Institute; and Paul Farmer, MD, MPH., founding director of Partners In Health.

Global Health is Local Health: Bad Bugs Can't Read Maps
On April 26th Rx for Survival's distinguished experts and senior executive producer participated in a "Mini-Med School" class held at Harvard Medical School. Addressing a packed house in the heart of Boston's medical community were doctors Paul Farmer and Jim Kim of Partners In Health and Harvard's Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities; Dr. Martin Hirsch, Professor of Medicine at Harvard; and Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer of WGBH/NOVA's Science Unit.

After clips from Rx for Survival were shown, the speakers discussed topics ranging from avian flu to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Farmer commented on Rx for Survival: "It was the first major television program examining the global health crisis and it certainly struck many of us as the best one." Kim echoed Farmer's comments saying, "Rx for Survival is by far the best piece I've ever seen on the infectious disease threat."

Paula Apsell returned the compliments in her remarks, saying, "Many people talk about changing the world; few actually accomplish it. But Paul and Jim have leveraged the work of a small NGO called Partners In Health to change the way the world thinks about equity, or fairness, in access to health care. … They helped to bring about a new World Health Organization standard for treating patients with multidrug-resistant TB. And also as a result of their work, more and more countries are deciding to put their AIDS patients on anti-retroviral drugs … We were proud to tell even a small part of their story, and as they would be the first to say — the story of the courage of their patients as well."

The sessions will be posted by the end of May at:

Learn more about the many global health champions featured in Rx for Survival at:

Web Site News and Updates

Watch Rx for Survival Online
If you missed the broadcast, or just want to explore some of the stories in more depth, visit the Rx for Survival Video Index at www.pbs.org/rxforsurvival/series/video/index.html to access two and half hours of clips from the series.

Featured Links

The Age of AIDS
On the 25th anniversary of the first diagnosed cases of AIDS, FRONTLINE examines one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known in The Age of AIDS, airing Tuesday and Wednesday, May 30 and 31, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings). After a quarter-century of political denial and social stigma, of stunning scientific breakthroughs, bitter policy battles and inadequate prevention campaigns, HIV/AIDS continues to spread rapidly throughout much of the world. Through interviews with AIDS researchers, world leaders, activists, and patients, FRONTLINE investigates the science, politics, and human cost of this fateful disease and asks: What are the lessons of the past, and what can be done to stop AIDS?

Watch a preview at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/

Read about the discovery of HIV/AIDS and watch related clips from Rx for Survival at www.pbs.org/rxforsurvival/series/diseases/hiv_aids.html

Food Force
According to the World Food Programme, 852 million people are chronically hungry, a number that is rising by 10 million a year. This humanitarian video game is designed to help children understand the nature and extent of this problem by simulating the challenges faced by aid workers delivering food and medical supplies to people in times of crisis. Available as a free download, the game is enhanced by an interactive Web site that with information about hunger, as well as ideas for how to effect change at school or at home.

Rx for Child Survival Campaign News and Updates

Informed discussions about global public health are happening in communities across the nation. Following are two recent Rx for Child Survival coalition events.

Nebraska Coalition
More than 500 leaders, stakeholders, students, and partners in health were invited to participate in the University of Nebraska's Public Health Day. Primary promotion of the global initiative and the Rx for Child Survival campaign took place April 6th at a Public Health Day luncheon at the Scott Center in Omaha. Mr. Allen Greenberg, President of Nebraska's charitable Buffett Foundation, provided introductions at the event. A 20-minute interview with Dr. Allen Rosenfield, recorded at Columbia University, was presented during the luncheon. An Rx for Child Survival display, developed by Nebraska's public television station NET provided information about child survival while a clip from the series further engaged an estimated 250 attendees, many of whom are the state's leading opinion makers and decision makers around child survival.

Following the luncheon, an event titled "Rx for Child Survival World Café" offered an opportunity for public health students and professionals from Nebraska and around the world to engage in small group conversations aimed at constructing strong bridges between productive dialogue and practical action. During the Rx for Child Survival World Café, participants exchanged individual concerns, diverse cultural perspectives, and a deeply shared commitment to address serious child health issues.

Nashville Coalition
On March 30th Nashville's public television station WNPT and the Scarritt-Bennett Center hosted a "Nashville Discussion" around Rx for Child Survival and what individuals can do to easily make a dramatic and positive difference in the issue of global healthcare for children.

The free public event featured speakers Stephanie B.C. Bailey, M.D., Director of Health, Metro Public Health Department of Nashville and Davidson County; Sten Vermund, M.D., Director of Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health; and Mario Rojas, M.D., Neonatologist and Researcher Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

The "Nashville Discussion" is an annual public discussion that encompasses representatives from across Middle Tennessee and provides a forum to learn more about important issues.

Global Health Headlines

To help readers grasp how global health affects each one of us, below are links to global health-related stories currently in the news.

Saving Millions for Just a Few Dollars: Cost-Effective Health Measures for Poor Nations
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2006/04/02/AR2006040200813_pf.html

New standards for infant growth aims for healthier lives worldwide

Africa marks 'Malaria Day'

Success Story

Children's Story used to Fight Avian Flu
In many countries where avian flu is threatening flocks, poultry is a primary source of both nutrition and income for many families. "Chickens are considered mobile savings banks," says Dr. Susan Zimicki, director of the Academy for Educational Development's (AED) infectious disease initiative. "When birds are destroyed to stop the spread of avian influenza, families can lose their livelihoods and primary food source. The key to preventing the spread of the disease is educating people who are most at-risk for contracting it," Zimicki says.

To raise awareness among African children about avian flu and involve them in educating their communities about the disease, AED has developed a new set of educational materials to be used in a variety of African settings.

Zandi's Song, is a colorfully illustrated story about a 15-year-old girl who raises chickens to help pay school fees. The 28-page booklet discusses transmission and prevention of avian flu as Zandi becomes empowered to help her village learn more about the disease. The story is accompanied by a 12-page teacher's guide that contains a step-by-step approach to helping children take action in their community, as well as a fact sheet, posters and bookmarks on ways to protect against avian flu.

Testing in Kenya showed students were able to clearly list the methods of the spread and prevention of avian flu after reading Zandi's Song. Teachers and students, age 9-16, enjoyed the story, and it spurred creative thinking and ideas about how they could apply what they learned in their own communities. To date, nearly one thousand visitors have viewed the Zandi's Song materials at http://avianflu.aed.org/zandi.htm, which can be duplicated with the acceptance of a license agreement and are easily adapted for use in other countries.

Learn more about influenza and what is being done to fight this deadly virus at

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


©/™ 2005 WGBH Educational Foundation and Vulcan Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All third party trademarks are owned by their respective owners and used with permission.

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