Photo: Fund for Global Health Nurse Deborah Silas bringing health care to a village in Nigeria during the rainy season.
The mission of the Fund for Global Health is to provide the maximum possible health benefit to vulnerable people in developing countries. We focus particularly on innovation in rural health care and on advocacy around global health issues such as tuberculosis and road safety.
The Fund for Global Health is a social profit organization: we are a philanthropic agency seeking an improvement in social indicators rather than a monetary profit, but we take a business-like approach, working to achieve the greatest possible impact per dollar invested. Thus all our programs share the same bottom line approach: provide the maximum benefit to vulnerable communities.
It is unfair that where you live determines how long you will live. But today that unfairness is rampant. In the Central African Republic life expectancy is 48 years; in Japan it is 83 years.
UNICEF's annual State of the World's Children Report illustrates the injustices related to children. We also need to look at health injustices relating to adults.
A person living in Zambia is nearly eight times more likely to die between age 15 and age 60 than someone living in Canada. A 15-year-old living in Uganda has only about a one in two chance of living to age 60. In Italy it is 94%.
Behind these figures are the most personal kinds of suffering, and perhaps the gravest injustice in our world today.
But poor health in the developing world is also one of the main causes of poverty. It robs people of the ability to work productively, it forces families into destitution, and it compromises the physical and mental endowments that are key to escaping from poverty. Nothing reduces people’s opportunities more than ill health.
The Fund focuses on global health for two reasons:
First, in fighting poverty and injustice, we are often confronted with a hard choice: to relieve human suffering now, or to address the underlying poverty and inequality that cause the suffering.
By focusing on basic health the Fund does both: we address the suffering directly, but we also address one of the main causes of poverty. Poor health conditions cause untold misery among the people who suffer disability and early death—and among their families.
The second reason the Fund focuses on health is because we want to serve vulnerable people well; we want to make as big a positive difference as we can. The most important thing to people is life itself. And there is a lot we can do: science has given us magnificent and very low-cost tools that can literally make a life-or-death difference for people in poor countries. This opportunity to make a huge difference for vulnerable people is what drives us.
The Fund seeks to provide the maximum possible health benefits to vulnerable groups. Our main metric is the number of premature deaths averted.
Our interests include child health, but we also focus on adult health, in part because the death of a parent often has such a devastating effect on the whole family. Our policy is to assess our results in terms of the number of deaths averted of people under 50. Where our programs have an impact in preventing disability, we will use the World Health Organization’s disability weights to arrive at an overall health impact measure that combines both mortality and disability.
To avoid the problem of multiple programs all taking credit for saving the same lives, the Fund's policy is to assess our results conservatively, taking full account of all the programs in place, not just the ones we fund. Wherever possible we will assess results using mortality surveys or other methods that compare the areas where the programs we fund have taken place with similar areas where programs have not taken place.
The Fund for Global Health is led by Executive Director Ernest Loevinsohn. Prior to joining the Fund Mr. Loevinsohn served as the Director General of the Health and Education Directorate at the Canadian International Development Agency, and as Director of Global Health Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He also served as Vice-Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and as Chair of its Donor Group.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
Dr. Brian Brink, Formally Chief Medical Officer, Anglo American
Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS
Professor Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group, University of California San Francisco