News / Health

Bill Clinton, Bill Gates Press US Congress for More Spending on Global Health

There was a different kind of health care debate Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  The topic was how the United States can best build on the success of its global efforts to combat AIDS and malaria.  Members of Congress received advice from two leaders in global health - a former U.S. president and a technology tycoon.

Bill Clinton and Bill Gates sat side-by-side at a witness table before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Their goal:  to convince Congress to spend more to fight disease and provide basic medical services in some of the poorest countries around the world.

Former President Clinton called it a "moral imperative," and a foreign policy priority. "This is not complicated," he said. "When people think you care whether their kids live or die, they like you pretty well!"

And to those concerned about the cost of foreign aid, Mr. Clinton said it costs far less to save lives than to lose them in battle. "We have to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries,"  he said.

The former president cited Haiti as an example of a country where the link between health and security is strong. "If we can build a healthy Haiti and one where the economy works well, then there is much less incentive for it to be a drug transshipment point," he said.

Together, the William J. Clinton, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations have saved countless lives in the world's poorest countries.

The Gates Foundation has invested billions of dollars in AIDS prevention and treatment, and other health challenges.  And the Clinton Foundation has worked with drug manufacturers to get medicines to those most in need.

Bill Gates - the founder of the Microsoft computer software firm - told the Senate committee that improving health is an important first step in bringing countries out of poverty, and making them stable and prosperous. "The countries we are talking about have terrible health problems.  We have to solve those problems to get them on the path to self-sufficiency," he said.

Gates said these efforts represent America at its best. "I do think this work has a substantial impact on how the country is viewed - a willingness to take our science, our innovation and have it benefit the poorest people in the world," he said.

Congress is working on legislation to fund an expanded U.S. government role in global health.  Unlike the debate over domestic health care reform, there has been a remarkable degree of bipartisanship in promoting health internationally.

Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold has worked on Senate legislation to fund the global battle against malaria and AIDS. "This has been an area at a time when people despair of bipartisanship - bipartisanship has been superb on both of these issues for years and, I think, Americans should know,"

The programs that form the basis for President Barack Obama's global health initiative were launched by his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Top Democratic and Republican lawmakers are involved in drafting legislation to expand America's global health role.  

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs