Dean Frenk pushes global health agenda

October 3, 2011 — HSPH Dean Julio Frenk stepped up his efforts this fall to keep global health issues at center stage despite a continuing worldwide economic slowdown.

During the week of September 12, Dean Frenk spoke twice in Washington, D.C., first before an audience of health, business and government leaders at a forum sponsored by the Washington Post on Noncommunicable Diseases.

During the same trip he also was part of a panel hosted by Christy Turlington Burns on “Improving Health Outcomes for Women and Children through Integrated Care” at the first George W. Bush Institute Global Health Conference: The Summit to Save Lives. Ms. Burns is a former model who today is an advocate for international cooperation, supporting women’s health projects and relief work across the globe. Dean Frenk was joined on the panel by Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda; Lois Quam, Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative, U.S. Department of State; and Dr. Luis Samboof Angola, who is the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa.

[Learn more about the Washington Post forum: Also, read the account of Dean Frenk’s remarks by Washington Post’s David Brown, in which he refers to the moral imperative of addressing noncommunicable diseases worldwide:]

The next week Dean Frenk traveled to New York City for four events connected with the United Nations’ history-making summit on non-communicable diseases and with the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.

Dean Frenk chairs the board of the Partnership on Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (PMNCH), which last week released a new report: Analysing Commitments to Advance the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The new report was presented at a high-level event to mark the first anniversary of the launch of Every Woman, Every Child, as the strategy is called. Dean Frenk was one of the speakers at a series of panel discussions that included the UN Secretary-General, several heads of governments, and other global leaders. The PMNCH report helps to account for the billions of dollars in financial commitments that have been made to improve the health of women and children globally by governments, foundations, UN and other multilateral organizations, NGOs, the business community, health care professional associations, and academic institutions. Dean Frenk was quoted extensively in the media about the report.

[Learn more:]

While in New York, Dean Frenk also attended meetings of the MDG Advocacy Group, which was set up last year by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help the UN build political will and mobilize global action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Co-chaired by Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, this Advocacy Group brings together a number of well-known individuals from the private sector, governments, civil society, and academia. The group has agreed to lead a series of targeted actions to boost the achievement of the United Nations efforts to slash hunger, poverty, disease and lack of access to education by 2015.

[Learn more at:]

–Julie Rafferty