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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More