Recently, a major European NGO asked me to comment on the future of global health:
At a time when the Health Bill is hitting the headlines in the USA and election battle lines are being drawn over the NHS in the UK, access to health care is playing on the minds of people the world over. What is on your mind?

Here is my response:

The future of global health lies on prevention
By Kelly N Patterson

I spent three years working with a small nonprofit, community-based primary health care and rural development organization in very rural Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Back then, Hlabisa District was a grim setting with a 41.6% HIV prevalence rate with high incidences of TB, Malaria, and even a cholera epidemic, sprinkled with chronic diseases associated with developing countries like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Reasons for the advanced stage of the HIV epidemic in this district include: high level of labor migration; limited access to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; low status of women; poor nutrition; and general poverty (80% unemployment at the time.)

This particular district had been historically under-funded due to politics and lacked the public services to cope with the growing demand for care. Essentially, this left the district with a disabling population of elderly women, living on welfare, and lots of children; the majority of the adult population either dead, or too sick to work.

Grandmothers could not afford to support themselves and orphaned children and ill adults on their pensions, so the older children would drop out of school. Older boys would resort to both petty and violent crime to obtain money or food for their homesteads. Older girls would often resort to prostitution for income and without education and access to birth control methods, more children. Thus the cycle of poverty, crime and disease continue. This is the current state of the world.

Therefore, to break this cycle, Global Health policies should focus on prevention, not the symptoms, of chronic, communicable and terminal diseases by addressing the seeds of all health issues: public infrastructure, economics and gender issues.

Public Infrastructure: This is everything from water and sanitation to roads and education. Education is critical to preventing most diseases (from nutrition and personal hygiene to reproductive health education); clean drinking water would significantly reduce water-borne diseases; easy access to public health clinics and pharmacies; adequate housing and access to mosquito netting; and proper sanitation systems are all necessary to preventing 80% of chronic and communicable diseases worldwide.

Economics: Affordable, easily accessible healthcare (from prevention to treatment to palliative care; especially, affordable equal access to pharmaceutical drugs); rural development with emphasis on good nutrition, personal hygiene and clean water systems; job development; investment in vaccines, micro-biocides and directly observed treatments (such as the TB DOTS program); local, national and international incentives for quality, multi-sectoral health policies, designed by nations, for their own people’s public health.

Gender issues: Over half of the world’s population is female and unless women have access to the same level of education, pay, rights, healthcare treatment, and protection as men, women will never have the power to improve their own health and the health of their children. This means over half of the world has no control over their own health.

In conclusion, global health care issues will never diminish unless people address the conditions which nurture most chronic, communicable and terminal diseases. Therefore, a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to global health policies is needed. The seeds of all global health issues, whether it be in the States or Sudan, come down to public infrastructure, economics and gender issues.

My ever-so humble opinion, Kelly N Patterson


New RFPs


Glenn Foundation and American Federation for Aging Research Invite Proposals for Research Into Biology of Aging
Two-year awards totaling $200,000 will be given to full-time faculty members at the rank of assistant professor or higher researching the genetic controls of aging and longevity….

Posted on September 30, 2009
Deadline: December 15, 2009

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Arts and Culture

MAP Fund Accepting Letters of Inquiry for Contemporary Arts Performance Projects
Forty grants of up to $45,000 will be awarded to playwrights, choreographers, directors, composers, and performers working to premiere a new work that brings insight to the issue of cultural difference or the concept of “other”….

Posted on September 30, 2009
Deadline: October 19, 2009 (Online Letter of Inquiry)

Association of Performing Arts Presenters Accepting Applications for Cultural Exchange Fund Travel Grants
Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to U.S.-based individual presenters and groups traveling to see the work of artists or companies abroad, and/or to develop partnerships with them….

Posted on September 30, 2009
Deadline: November 16, 2009

Surdna Foundation Accepting Applications for Arts Teachers Fellowship Program
Grants of up to $5,500, plus a $1,500 donation to the fellow’s school, will be given to arts teachers at public arts high schools who design their own program of education and professional development….

Posted on September 27, 2009
Deadline: November 13, 2009 (Intent to Apply)

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Children and Youth

Powered by Service Offers Funding to Seed Youth-Led Service Projects
Grants will be awarded to young people around the world who are conducting service projects that encourage youth to become involved in addressing problems facing their communities….

Posted on October 1, 2009
Deadline: Open

Do Something Awards to Honor Young Social Change Activists
Young people age 25 or under will be honored for their leadership in community improvement and concern for the lives of others with grants of up to $100,000 to the cause of their choice….

Posted on October 1, 2009
Deadline: December 15, 2009

Entries Invited for Atlanta Falcons Youth Fitness Contest: 60 Ways to Play 60
Grants of $1,000 will be awarded to individuals, schools, and organizations working to develop and implement innovative ways to engage K-12 students in Georgia in daily physical activity….

Posted on September 30, 2009
Deadline: November 4, 2009

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Civil and Human Rights

Astraea Lesbian Foundation’s International Fund for Sexual Minorities Announces Letter of Inquiry Requirement
Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to nonprofits outside the U.S. or its territories working to address oppression based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression….

Posted on October 1, 2009
Deadline: Open (Letter of Inquiry)

Wesley Mancini Foundation Accepting Grant Requests to Benefit Gay Community of Charlotte, North Carolina
Grants will be awarded to nonprofits working to promote the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals as full participants in the Charlotte community….

Posted on October 1, 2009
Deadline: November 1, 2009

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Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope Offers Technology Donation Competition for U.S. Schools
Up to $1 million in cash and technology from Samsung Electronics America plus in-kind donations from Microsoft, DirecTV, and Best Buy will be given to individuals with the best ideas to improve the use of technology in classrooms….

Posted on October 2, 2009
Deadline: November 1, 2009

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Welcome Back Awards Program Seeks Nominations to Recognize Those Dedicated to the Depression Community
Five individuals will be honored with donations totaling $55,000 to the nonprofits of their choice for their work to fight the illness and stigma of depression….

Posted on October 2, 2009
Deadline: November 16, 2009

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Philanthropy and Voluntarism

New York Times Company Nonprofit Awards to Honor Excellence in Organizational Management
The 2010 New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Awards will provide up to $25,000 to three New York City area nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated excellence in organizational management….

Posted on September 29, 2009
Deadline: November 20, 2009

San Francisco Foundation’s Nonprofit Transitions Fund Accepting Applications for “Intentional Change”
A total of $350,000 will be awarded to Bay Area nonprofits that have previously received grants from the foundation and are conducting strategic planning and fund development activities in response to the economic downturn….

Posted on September 28, 2009
Deadline: October 26, 2009

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Public Affairs

Asian Giving Circle at Chicago Community Trust Accepting Grant Proposals to Build Fundraising Capacity
Grants of up to $7,000 will be given to help nonprofits serving Chicago-area Asian communities improve their fundraising strategy and capacity….

Posted on September 26, 2009
Deadline: October 30, 2009

A World of Solutions: IADB Innovation Lab Competition

Financing of up to US$ 20,000 will be provided for an innovation to improve the quality of life and the economic and social inclusion of People with Disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Deadline: October 15, 2009.

In the Science and Technology Division of the Inter-American Development Bank we are looking to support the implementation of pilot projects that use innovation to improve the quality of life and the economic and social inclusion of People with Disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The initiative is made up of two competitions:

We wanted to know more about what problems people with disabilities (PWD) face in the region.

Our blogis an interactive tool where PWD, Disabled People’s Organizations, and anyone interested in the topic shared, voted, and prioritized the most important barriers to social and economic inclusion. The voting process was active open until July 10, 2009, and the most voted problems were:

Problem: Vote
Software for employment of people with visual disabilities 61,160
Toys for All 43,480
Access to Transport 42181
Education support for Deaf children 2587
How can people with physical disabilities work from home? 1068

And now, we are opening the Competition of Solutions!

The competition is open until October 15, 2009, and we are looking for solutions to these most voted problems. Scientists, innovators and creative people from all areas are invited to participate and the IDB will finance the piloting of the five most appropriate and innovative ideas. Financing of up to US$ 20,000 will be provided.

On the interactive webpage you can learn more about the dialogue and discussing related to the problems.