During production for Rx for Survival, we encountered a great number of individuals making a tremendous difference on the front lines of global health. Some work in remote rural communities; others create national or international public health initiatives. The following profiles of these global health champions are but a small sample of the many fine people, past and present, who have made public health their life's work.
Founder and Chairperson
BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee)
As leader of one of the most effective non-governmental organizations in the world, Abed has fought against poverty, disease, child mortality, and illiteracy by educating and empowering the poor women of rural Bangladesh.
World Health Organization, African Program for Onchocerciasis Control
River blindness, a condition caused by worms that damage the eyes to the point of blindness, affects 12 African nations. With determination and diplomacy, Amazigo has implemented a low-cost, sustainable strategy to distribute a medicine that may eradicate this disease.
Riders for Health
Their shared love of motorcycles inspired a marriage and the founding of an organization that provides African health care workers with motorcycles to transport patients and deliver medical supplies.
Chairman and Founding Partner, BroadReach
Former Operations Manager, Botswana's Treatment Program for HIV/AIDS
Darkoh is building a nationwide health system from the ground up in Botswana through a public-private collaboration between the government of the small African nation and foundations.
Partners in Health
He has been described as "a man who would cure the world." Trained as a medical anthropologist and physician, the Robin Hood of global health has begged, borrowed, and stolen AIDS drugs to treat the poor in Haiti.
Professor and Health Policy Fellow, Emory University
Former Head, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
In the 1970s he led the smallpox eradication campaign in India and later persuaded governments and drug companies to support polio eradication efforts. Today he is on the front lines of the battle to overcome the public's resistance to the use of vaccines.
Associate Executive Director
The Carter Center
For a long time, Hopkins was alone in his belief that Guinea worm disease could be eradicated. Through worldwide campaigns and community mobilization efforts, he now stands on the brink of its worldwide eradication.
Co-Founder, Partners in Health
Director of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization
Supported in part by a MacArthur Foundation genius grant he received in 2003, Kim is on his way to achieving an ambitious goal: to get three million AIDS patients worldwide onto antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2005.
BRAC Community Health
A grassroots community health worker, Rohima never finished primary school, but today she monitors the health of 300 households in Bangladesh. She is among 33,000 women who have taken charge of their families' health and started microfinanced businesses.
Doctors Without Borders
This physician and nurse team treat 17,000 people in a refugee camp in western Chad. During their six-month mission they will deal with the threat of measles, poor sanitation, armed bandits, and Sudanese militias.
Mexican National Institutes of Health
Presented with a possible cholera epidemic, Sepulveda launched a massive clean-water program in Mexico, with an aggressive communications campaign to alert people to the ways the disease is transmitted.
Dean Emeritus and Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Sommer discovered that children in Indonesia were dying of complications from nightblindness, a condition arising from vitamin A deficiency. His findings and identification of an inexpensive cure have dramatically reduced childhood mortality.
Founder and Board Chairman
The Population & Community Development Association
With humor and determination, Viravaidya has fought for family planning and safe sex in Thailand. Known as "the condom king," his effort to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Thailand has been remarkably successful.