Victoria Hale's White Paper
All the 2006 Principal Voices are submitting a White Paper to the Web site, explaining their views at length.
Victoria Hale, founder of the Institute for OneWorld Health, the first non-profit drugs company in the United States, explains how traditional business methods can help tackle health problems worldwide.
Where there's a will, there's a way, as the saying goes. Unfortunately, the history of global health teaches us that even the best intentions will not suffice if we can't find effective strategies and the means to carry them out.
No one wants people to suffer from preventable diseases and no one wants children to die from malaria or diarrheal diseases. Tragically, millions do, and until recently, there was a growing sense of powerlessness to prevent it.
This is changing. Social entrepreneurs of all stripes are beginning to use the innovative strategies that created some of the world's most successful businesses to address the challenges of health.
Examples abound. In Bangalore, India, physician Devi Prasa Shetty has founded a cardiac hospital that provides 60% of its treatments below cost or for free, thanks to economies of scale and other cost-saving strategies.
A successful U.S. businessman, Blaise Judja-Sato, who was born in Cameroon, returned to Africa several years ago to start VillageReach, which focuses on providing transport and training to get medicines to remote areas.
Our own non-profit company, the Institute for OneWorld Health, is addressing the gap between global infectious disease and drug development. And like any start-up business, social enterprises like ours often require seed money.
That's why corporate and philanthropic resources, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are enormously important. Thanks to the catalyst of such high-profile philanthropists, the field of global health has been given new hope, along with fresh ideas and out-of-the-box approaches.
We need all the new ideas and innovations we can generate. We also need something else that entrepreneurs know well: the discipline of execution. The best brainstorming session will only yield results with a solid plan in hand.
When we started, we had our eye on a relatively simple goal: winning regulatory approval for a drug that can treat visceral leishmaniasis. This is a disease which afflicts 1.5 million people, causes horrible suffering and kills some 200,000 a year.
Now that we're almost there, we're turning our attention to making sure the drug can be manufactured and distributed to the people who need it, many of them desperately poor and in remote areas.
These are the kinds of problems that business leaders have been solving for years -- one small illustration of why active corporate engagement is so critical.
Even the calculations of the business world can inspire and direct us. We're beginning to talk about the return on investment of global health programs.
What's the pay off, twenty years from now, of ridding India and Sudan of visceral leishmaniasis? How will the dollars we spend now to control malaria, or tuberculosis, or HIV/AIDS, lead to healthier communities and stronger economies? Business leaders and partners can help us set priorities and measure success.
We are making measurable progress. Of the 1,556 new drugs made available from 1975 to 2004, only 20 were for diseases that mostly afflict the developing world. By the end of 2004, however, 60 research projects were underway to target so-called "neglected diseases."
When millions of people are dying each year, progress can still seem agonizingly slow.
Global health involves many stakeholders, from university research centers and giant pharmaceutical companies to international health organizations and government agencies.
We need more efficient channels to promote collaboration and the exchange of expertise, technology and especially intellectual property -- approaches that will continue to provide an incentive for innovation but also ensure that we are able to share the advances of modern medicine with everyone.
There is no single or simple prescription for success. The challenges we face in global health are too complex and multifaceted for that. That's why it's crucial for each venture to stay focused on achievable goals: a better diagnostic test, a new medicine, a sustainable medical delivery system, a health education program.
Yet, we need to go further. We need to link these health initiatives to similar efforts underway for infrastructure, education and economic development. These challenges are ripe for a truly integrated, end-to-end solution.
Each successful step will encourage others to join a rapidly growing movement that has begun to transform the face of global health and, ultimately, the world our children will share.
What do you think?
I was really impressed after reading Ms Hale's white paper. I am 17 years old and really felt good that there are people like Ms Hale who are making our world a better place to live.
Ms Hale is doing wonderful work in bringing together the dynamic forces of the commercial world with the concerns of the health community to do truly social work.
One has to wonder where the clashes of culture and overpopulation come into the prioritization of projects. We need to directly address the problem that the world is a finite space and the eco-system can only support so many.
The overpopulation, often by the least productive, makes for never ending situations which this program is so well addressing. Population limitation should rank high on the priorities of any aid program to any country, rich or poor.
Wonderful, well-put message and approach. We share your vision of social enterprise solving many of the world's current problems...we are working to set-up small water enterprises that provide reliable, affordable, high-quality drinking water to those in need. Keep up the great work!
Congratulations Victoria. I come from Democratic Republic of Congo, where people are suffering so much. I would like to learn more about your initiative and program.
Just one word: overwhelming. I used to work in England as a family practitioner. I gave up my job, and came to Bolivia.
I work in a leishmaniasis program. Recently I was introduced to DNDi (becoming known in Eastern Africa) and believe me you'll understand when I say I'm already tuned-up to your best practice.
Great work Victoria, hats off to you. I have lived in the U.S. for six years and now I am back in India I feel so much can be done in the developing countries from what one learns in the developed countries.
I agree with Adewale Bankole (below). These countries need the economic support along with the treatments they could supply. OneWorld Health must be very rewarding. Will continue to monitor your progress.
This is good news for the poor who cannot afford their medical costs. Some people living in rural areas of China cannot get enough medical care, some child die from preventable diseases, too.
Oneworld Health, a great strategy, best wishes to it.
People like you make important differences in our world. I wish I could work in a place which makes a real difference on Earth.
I feel your objective is laudable, but i think a better way of resolving the problem would be to actually carry out production within these countries you are trying to reach.
The cost of transportation will be removed from the overheads and you will secure the help of research scientists within these communities.
Employment could be generated, thereby reducing the poverty level. Government hospitals would benefit, and proper research could be carried out into other areas such as sickle cell disease and such ailments common to Africa and the black race, in which the drug companies abroad have not invested money for research because of the commercial value.
I like your White Paper, it is very important.
Great idea. I am the president of the Argentine-American Midwest Chamber of Commerce and of course I found it very interesting, your project. Please keep us updated about progress. Thank you.
To a sweet and beautiful lady, keep up the good work. Victoria Hale you have my blessing.. Gary.
We need to hail the efforts of Victoria Hale. It is a David vs Goliath story! My 15-year-old daughter is keenly interested in issues that deal with creating policies that help the poor and needy of the world. How wonderful to have a role model like Victoria for her to emulate in this area.
I am a pediatrician from Nepal, a small and beautiful country in South Asia. I have been in the U.S. for the past one month.
While on the flight to the U.S., I happened to go through Time magazine and read that you are involved in helping children in underprivileged areas to fight against kalazar and diarrhea.
Being trained in pediatrics and being involved in organizing health camps in many rural areas of Nepal, I very much appreciate your efforts and I would like to help in your efforts. Than you so much.
Coming from a Third World country I agree with her view.
I would like to congratulate Victoria and the Institute for OneWorld Health. It is initiatives like theirs that constantly remind us of how caring people of the developed world can be.
And for a social entrepreneur like myself and many others it is the thought of "the pay-off" that keeps us going, despite the size of the problems and challenges we are faced with.
It is daunting and perhaps far fetched to imagine a generation free of HIV/AIDS 20 years from now in many African countries. But from the results we are already realizing from the current modest investments on prevention, treatment, care and support we can get there.