NEW YORK What U2's Bono called the "Woodstock of Global Health" ended this week after more than 500 leaders offered solutions to global health challenges.
Hosted by TIME magazine and featuring Bill Gates and Rick Warren as speakers, the TIME Global Health Summit in New York City convened leaders in medicine, government, business, public policy and the arts, beginning Nov. 1, to inform and engage Americans from all sectors on the international challenges to public health and what they can do to help.
The three-day summit, which ended Thursday, was part of a weeklong multimedia effort to move public health closer to the top of the national agenda.
"This summit has been vital in bringing together current voices and even more importantly, new voices, to the debate on how to best address inequities in global health," said Patty Stonesifer., President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided major funding to make the summit possible. "We've seen civic organizations, communities of faith and the private sector step up in a real and measurable way."
"I was struck by the very fact that this is not your standard meeting of just infectious disease researchers or just human rights activists or just big pharmaceutical companies. It was everyone in one place, often for the first time," said Nancy Gibbs, TIME Editor-at-Large, at the summit's conclusion.
Eileen Naughton, President of TIME Group added, "I think we made a difference here this week."
With major support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TIME invited more than 400 people from all walks of lifepolicymakers; religious, civic and business leaders; thinkers and doers; scientists; entertainers; journalists; and public-health officialsto help devise practical solutions to the health crisis in the developing world. The conference was organized around 10 "big questions," from "Why do 10 million children have to die?" to "How do we prepare for the next plague?"
Around two dozen leaders from the faith-based community were among the more than 600 leaders gathered, including Ted Haggard, president of the National Evangelical Association; John McCullough, executive director of Church World Service; John Galbraith, president and CEO of the Catholic Medical Mission Board; and Bishop Joao Somane Machado, leader of the United Methodist Church in Mozambique; and the Rev. R. Randy Day, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries in the United Methodist Church.
At the conclusion of the summit, leaders offered numerous solutions to global health challenges. They include the following:
1. Bill Gates will fund malaria projects worldwide and announced $258 million to start off.
2. Sir Richard Branson said the Virgin Group believes new technologies will kill germs such as avian flu on airplanes.
3. CNN Co-Founder Ted Turner became committed to the Measles initiative, as health experts from the WHO and UNICEF revealed a 60 percent reduction in measles deaths since 1999. He $20 million from the UN Foundation.
4. President Clinton championed generic AIDS drugs as a cost-effective solution.
5. The Methodist Church announced a plan to fight Malaria by providing radio transmitters to broadcast health information.
6. Baylor College of Medicine and Bristol Myers Squibb announced the first wave of the Pediatric AIDS Corps, which will head to Africa to treat children and train medical workers.
7. Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren announced to the secular press his P.E.A.C.E. plan to combat AIDS in several countries by empowering local churches.
TIMEs Summit also included several major news events, including U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annans first major speech on avian flu where he unveiled a seven-point plan to ward off a possible pandemic on Thursday.