Information Exchange

Meet Our Featured Guest Columnist:
Dr. Roger Glass

is director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health.

Q: How/why did you become involved in global health issues?

A: First, from a moral standpoint, as citizens of the wealthiest country in the world, we have a responsibility to share our scientific knowledge and medical advances to benefit those less fortunate than ourselves. Second, in this increasingly "flat" world, health issues impact us all. The recent outbreak of SARS and the ongoing bird flu epidemic in Asian poultry both show that diseases don't respect borders. Globalization has increased the movement of people and products around the world, which means diseases can spread more quickly. Finally, Americans benefit enormously from research that has taken place elsewhere. Many parents rely on products such as Pedialyte when their children have diarrhea. This kind of oral rehydration therapy was originally developed by scientists working in Bangladesh who wanted to learn to treat cholera, which can kill quickly.

Meet Our Featured Guest Columnist:
Victor Cid

is a senior computer scientist at the Disaster Information Research Center of the National Library of Medicine.

Q: What does "health and human rights" mean to you?

A: The understanding that open opportunities to live a healthy life and access to health care are fundamental rights. Unobstructed access to humanity's best health information is a powerful enabling tool.

Meet Our Featured Guest Columnist:
Julia Royall

is chief of international programs at the National Library of Medicine. As director of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Communications Network she led an initiative to launch fast and reliable Internet connectivity all across Africa, to provide access to current medical literature.

Q: What does "health and human rights" mean to you?

A: Earlier this week, I was passing by an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp in Gulu in the North of Uganda, an area that has been torn by war for the last 20 years. Out from the huts, built close together and seeming to stretch on forever, ran a small child, coming to the roadside to watch the vehicles passing by on the long road back to KampalA: I photographed her so she was captured in time, but her image continued to play over and over again in my mind in full motion. What rights does this child have?  How will she have a future beyond "feedings" by USAID?  How will she receive health care? Be educated? Be able to think and move beyond the camp--where she was born and all she has known. Through my particular spectacles, I see good health as critical to this little girl being able to feed, clothe, and shelter herself. If she is not healthy, she cannot go to school or work or envision anything beyond the limitations of the camp. Is not good health the bedrock on which one can build a better life? A better world? But back to Gulu: No matter what else she makes of life, should not she at least have a spot on the playing field?