From 1999 to 2002, I was saving the world.
That’s how I described my job at the World Health Organization, anyway. And while it was modestly said tongue in cheek, I honestly did/do feel like that’s exactly what I was doing. Saving the World. And it made me proud. I’m still proud, even though most of what I did was email folks who were actually saving the world.
In the early 2000s, Africa was a public health nightmare . HIV/AIDs was spreading and with it the ancient scourge of Tuberculosis, which was hoped to be contained and ultimately was instead increasing. That’s because about 40% of HIV patients have latent TB, which develops into full blown TB, a highly contagious airborne infection. One that since my day has become more drug resistant.
Drugs for HIV — anti-retrovirals, were expensive. Prohibitively so for the people who needed them most. The infrastructure for getting the drugs where they were most needed often didn’t exist. People were dying. Lots of people were dying because of disease and the inability to get and/or afford medicine.
I left WHO just as the Clinton Foundation started saving that part of the world.
The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) worked with existing groups including the WHO and the U.N. But it brought clout to a field that was mired in bureaucracy. It cut to the chase. And it solved many of the problems of drug affordability and delivery. They negotiated incredible price deals. They worked on getting drugs to the people who needed it most, beginning with HIV-positive mothers because 90% of them transmitted HIV to their newborn babies.
The Clinton Foundation is everything American outreach should be. It should not be shuttered. We Americans should be shouting about the Clinton Foundation as a beacon of light. Exactly the way we all want the US to be viewed in the world. We Americans do good work. Good Works.
The Clinton Foundation is saving the world.
What is President Bill Clinton’s successor doing?
George W Bush sure as hell ain’t saving the world.