TIME Summit to Tackle Global Health Challenges with Focus on Faith-Based Efforts

NEW YORK – A global health summit hosted by TIME magazine and featuring Bill Gates and Rick Warren as speakers will convene leaders in medicine, government, business, public policy and the arts to develop solutions to ten health crises.

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Nov. 1-3 TIME Global Health Summit in New York City, is the first one to convene top figures from differing fields of health, government, and civic organizations.

"The developed nations of the world can no longer ignore the health crisis faced by millions of people every day," said Jim Kelly, managing editor of TIME magazine. "With the rapid spread of so many diseases that can be treated – and in many cases prevented – with simple interventions."

"This is not an insurmountable task," said Kelly. "We have the drugs, the vaccines and the medical knowledge. All we have lacked is the will."

According to Vickie Johnson of Interchurch Medical Assistance, the TIME summit will focus the nation's attention on the effectiveness of faith-based healthcare.

"The secular world is becoming increasingly aware of how much health care is provided by Christians and church-affiliated hospitals and clinics, especially in the developing countries," said Johnson. "The World Bank is now looking at these church-health facilities and looking at how they can partner."

Interchurch Medical Assistance is an association of twelve U.S. mainline Protestant agencies that promote overseas health programs, including helping provide 10 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo with health care. The churches in conjunction with the Congolese government set up the program 20 years ago, and it survived despite ten years of civil war. Now, 50 percent of the country's healthcare is provided for by Christian clinics.

"Doctors and nurses would come to the facilities and have nothing to work with at all," said Johnson. "They were not getting paid but they would still show up."

At the Summit, TIME Magazine will recognize the director of the program, Dr. Ngoma Miezi Kintaudi of the Medical Office of the Protestant Church of Congo, as a global health hero in addition to other "true-life heroes" of global health.

Said Johnson of Christian medical facilities, "We typically keep a low profile and have for many, many years, but we really need to start tooting the horn about what churches are doing. We want people to know that there is a great deal of love and compassion being practiced all over the world, and the outcome of that is that people who are desperately poor are receiving health services."

Speakers for next month’s TIME summit range from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to U2 lead singer Bono. Those leading the international health organizations will also be speaking, including Paul Wolfowitz, president of The World Bank and Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization. Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Paul Farmer, member of the Board of Partners In Health/Program In Infectious Disease and Social Change; Ann Veneman executive director of UNICEF; Madeleine Albright, principal of Albright Group LLC; and Agnes Binagwaho, executive secretary of Rwanda's National Commission to Fight AIDS are also among the speakers. Former President Bill Clinton will also be in attendance.

In its efforts to focus America's attention on global health, TIME will also partner with PBS and ABC News to reach a broad audience. A special issue of TIME on global health will hit newsstands, and reach more than 27 million readers around the world on Oct. 27. From Nov. 1-3 at 9-11 p.m., PBS will premiere Rx for Survival – A Global Health Challenge, a six-part documentary series narrated by Brad Pitt. ABC News will provide expanded coverage of global health issues this fall.