global health council
Given the widespread desire to improve global health, it’s a challenge to spread adequate resources and information so that progress can be facilitated. The Global Health Council works for just that purpose – supporting and connecting organizations and people with common global health interests, as well as informing the public about the issues.

The council has myriad methods, all of which are geared toward a brighter future for struggling countries. Since its establishment in 1972, the Global Health Council has grown to 4,525 members in 39 countries and 28 U.S. states. Over the years, the council has worked to educate the public, as well as politicians, to raise awareness about the global health crisis. It is an organization whose main goal is to ensure that anyone who desires to make improvements to the global health situation is armed with any resources and information they need to make it happen.

The Global Health Council focuses much of its effort in developing countries, trying to improve the effectiveness of programs and policies to allow for the most progress. The council also increases funding for aid to developing countries in order to ensure future sustainability. Overall, the organization funds over 80 U.S. international health charities and has raised $1.5 billion to contribute to health efforts. According to the World Health Organization, the council focuses on five key factors contributing to the rampant global health issues, including “women’s health, child’s health, HIV and AIDs, infectious diseases and health systems.”

Health systems may be the most important factor on the list, because it is the deciding factor on how effectively disease is treated, contained and approached in the future. The importance of the Global Health Council is undeniable. As developing countries begin to make progress, they are faced with the same challenges over and over. WHO explains that the most common obstacles include “insufficient financing, lack of inter-agency coordination, poorly-functioning information systems, health worker shortages and supply interruptions.”

The Global Health Council has identified these problems and works to eliminate them to make the transitions for developing countries smoother and more efficient. The Global Health Council also emphasizes on speaking directly with politicians to advocate for their ideals. Recently, a group of council members went to speak with Senator Debbie Stabenow, who serves as the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Agricultural improvements are of immense importance in developing countries, often being a deciding factor for beginning the road to development. During their meeting, discussion revolved around the vitality of children receiving important nutrients during their first 1,000 days of life, as well as the food assistance third world countries are receiving.

Conversations like these with people who influence policy can quickly lead to policy change, which can subsequently lead to a better world. Whether it’s simply to get a dialogue going about the Millennium Development goals or to raise thousands of dollars for global health aid, the Global Health Council is constantly making improvements both big and small.

— Magdalen Wagner

Sources: Global Health 1, Global Health 2, WHO
Photo: The University of Texas at Austin