Press Release

MCC and Global Health Council Host Forum on Health Care for the World’s Poor

Panel discusses critical role of infrastructure in allowing access to health care

For Immediate Release

July 30, 2009

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Government Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Global Health Council hosted a public forum today to discuss the critical need to provide access to health care for the world’s poor, in part by building safe infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and health clinics.

“The U.S. Government is committed to helping people around the world who face some of the most fundamental health issues due to unsanitary conditions, insufficient clinic or medical supplies, or the lack of roads to travel to reach medical attention,†said Rodney Bent, MCC Acting Chief Executive Officer. “A problem this severe requires innovative and integrated approaches that leverage assistance efforts and produce tangible, sustainable results. I am pleased that the Global Health Council and its partners have joined MCC in this public conversation about these vital issues.â€

“President Obama eloquently stated during his recent trip to Ghana that the United States will not ‘confront diseases in isolation’ and will invest in strengthening health systems,†said Jeffrey L. Sturchio, President and CEO of the Global Health Council.  “The Council could not agree more.  We are pleased that the MCC invited the Council to take part in this important conversation, and our members look forward to continued dialogue with the U.S. Government on how best to address the critical health issues facing the developing world.†    

The public forum included keynote remarks by Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby, former Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, regarding the holistic approach needed to solve the multi-faceted problem of health care access for the world’s poor. The panelists — who included Shellie Bressler, Professional Staff Member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Dr. Joseph Dwyer, Director for the Leadership, Management and Sustainability Program at Management Sciences for Health; Carol Hessler, Managing Director for Infrastructure, Environment and Social Assessment at MCC; and Marty Makinen, Principal and Managing Director at Results for Development Institute— emphasized the need to look at the systemic causes of the world’s poverty and illnesses in order to create a comprehensive solution. 
MCC recognizes that a healthy population, in which illness is reduced and life expectancy is increased, is critical to achieving sustained economic growth and poverty reduction.  Where national growth is potentially stymied by poor health, MCC investments can help governments ensure that critical, cost-effective health services are available where they have the most potential to make a difference in enhancing the quality of life, leading to greater productivity and economic growth.  In other areas, such as road infrastructure, MCC works to ensure people have secure means of transportation to access health care clinics and supplies.

Among MCC’s nearly $705 million investments in global health, MCC is investing $122 million in Lesotho to strengthen the delivery of essential health services to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and to improve maternal and child health.  In Mongolia, MCC is investing $17 million to strengthen the national program for prevention, early diagnosis, and management of non-communicable diseases and injuries (NCDI) to ensure that Mongolians become healthier and more productive in the workplace.  In El Salvador, MCC is investing $24 million to provide access to potable and clean water benefiting 90,000 people in the poorest region of the country.

The Global Health Council is the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world. The Council works to ensure that all who strive for improvement and equity in global health have the information and resources they need to succeed. Its diverse membership is comprised of health care professionals and organizations that include NGOs, foundations, corporations, government agencies and academic institutions that work to ensure global health for all. The Council informs and educates opinion leaders, policy makers, the media and concerned citizens about crucial global health issues.  The Council’s efforts in local communities, with national governments, and with multilateral agencies spur greater investment in global health and sound approaches to improving health around the world. 

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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States Government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and help eliminate extreme poverty. For more information about MCC, visit

The Global Health Council is the world's largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world. The Council serves and represents public health organizations and professionals working in more than 140 countries.