The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

By Chloe Tonney, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the CDC Foundation

By Chloe Tonney, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the CDC Foundation

Today, public-private partnerships are vital to advancing and improving public health, and we at the CDC Foundation are grateful to our donors for their generous contributions of funds, expertise and engagement that help CDC save and improve lives in the United States and throughout the world.

The CDC Foundation has just released our fiscal year 2014 Report to Contributors, titled “Why I Give: A Celebration of Our Partners,” which has led me to reflect on the power of public-private partnerships to drive progress in health. The CDC Foundation’s support of CDC’s response to the current Ebola epidemic is one example of how private-sector funding can help fight global health threats. We are humbled by the generosity of our donors who are contributing millions of dollars to help CDC’s response in West Africa, including a $25 million grant, which we just announced, from Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan. Yet there are many other examples of how the public and private sectors are coming together to do amazing things.

For example, a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to facilitate CDC’s work with developing countries to train local public health workers and strengthen systems to better detect and respond to dangerous diseases like meningitis and rotavirus—and now Ebola.

Maternal and child health is another area where public-private partnerships are making a difference. Our mHealth Tanzania Partnership—led by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania with support from the CDC Foundation, CDC, and numerous Tanzanian and international public and private sector partners—is leveraging the booming mobile phone infrastructure in Tanzania to reduce maternal and infant mortality. Through the program, text messages and appointment reminders are sent at no charge to pregnant women and mothers of newborns, as well as to their supporters. In addition, programs with Bloomberg Philanthropies are collecting and analyzing data that can be used to inform efforts aimed at improving maternal and child health in Tanzania going forward.

There are myriad examples of how the meaningful engagement of donors is helping to enhance CDC’s efforts at home and abroad, including preventing infections in cancer patients, optimizing safe driving for teens, and developing an injection safety campaign for U.S. healthcare settings. In every case, we’re able to help solve big problems and allow CDC to pursue life-saving work that might not be possible without the support of external partners.

Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has launched 761 programs and raised more than $450 million to advance the life-saving work of CDC. We greatly appreciate our partners and celebrate their deep commitment that inspires us and supports CDC’s work to create a healthier, safer world for us all.

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A Chance to See Through the Eyes of a Girl

By Fredrick Anyanwu

By Fredrick Anyanwu

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently began showing an extraordinary collection of art at its T-Concourse Gallery. It’s called “Through the Eyes of a Girl” and features 39 vivid paintings and drawings collected from five countries last year. All of the artists are school-aged girls. Their work depicts their joys, aspirations and daily challenges as they work to pursue their educations. I hope people walking through the airport can spare a few minutes to look at the art.

I was fortunate enough to be part of CARE’s art gathering trip to Ghana’s Ashanti region and got to spend time with several of the girls as they painted and drew. I sat with and looked through the eyes of Jennifer, an 8-year-old orphan who loves math and hopes to be a bank manager when she grows up. Asked to do a self-portrait, she drew pictures of herself doing household chores alongside her cousins and grandmother.

I also saw through the eyes of community leaders who recognized that the high girls’ dropout rates in their communities help keep girls and their families mired in poverty. They worked with CARE on an outreach campaign to show parents that girls can still help around the house if they go to school – and girls who stay in school are less likely to get pregnant and more likely to get a good job as adults. CARE’s program in the area where Jennifer lives cut the girls’ dropout rate by 50 percent.

When people stop to the look at the art, I hope they see they something they find beautiful. And I hope they see what the girls who made the art see; that educating girls in the developing world is an investment that pays long-term economic, health and social dividends to families and communities.

For more information about Through the Eyes of a Girl, visit

 Fredrick Anyanwu is executive director of individual resource development for CARE. 

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Is There Hope For Haiti?

-Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

Katie Pace, MAP International Public Content Specialist

A Tuesday afternoon in January of 2010 the worst natural disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere changed the course of the Haitian people forever.  It’s been nearly five years since the earthquake shook Haiti and captivated Americans to generously engage in international charitable giving.  Considered to be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is ranked 149th of 182 countries on the Human Development Index.

The earthquake was catastrophic.  It took the lives of an estimated 200,000 people in under a minute and toppled an enormous amount of buildings, including the Presidential Palace and many other government facilities causing mass power outages in the only standing hospitals.  The American people couldn’t help respond as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) flooded the country with humanitarian aid.  The news media were able to quickly gain entry to Haiti and reported the stench of death as there were more bodies than the Haitian government could ever recover.

With our extensive network of medical partnerships and over 40 years of service to healthcare providers in Haiti, MAP International quickly mobilized for an emergency relief response, as did the majority of humanitarian relief organizations in the U.S.  In the initial onset, tents were set up in critical areas and vital medical care was given to those in the aftermath.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake would devastate many U.S. cities, so it’s no surprise that buildings in an impoverished nation tumbled and the recovery has been slow.

Some say the NGOs have failed on their mission to rebuild Haiti, but on a recent monitoring trip to Haiti, I would have to disagree.  It’s very true that the overall efforts had good intentions but somewhere along the way took a turn and money was mismanaged and misplaced by a number of organizations and the Haitian government.   The clean water needs weren’t met and a cholera epidemic ensued and infected nearly half a million Haitians.

I write this to remind you that this shouldn’t put a bad taste in our mouths about disaster relief and humanitarian aid during crisis.  Lives were saved.  I think that needs to be said twice, lives were saved.  Haitians that would have gone without healthcare and food were provided antibiotics, fortified foods, surgeries, treatment for cholera, dehydration and other serious conditions. Some of the amazing NGOs that are still on the ground, like our partners Hope for Haiti and Love A Child Haiti, have restored the hope of the Haitian people they serve.  They have built clinics and schools and use MAP’s medicines to stock these clinics and stop disease from spreading and increase the quality of human life.

14953813588_f4e4817916_oThe Haitian people are resilient. I believe that one woman I met in Haiti encompasses the true spirit of the Haitian people.  Her name is Sister Genova, a member of the Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity.  Since 1985, she has lived and worked among the Haitian people – she herself has become Haitian and she spends every day of her life serving the people of Haiti.  Six nuns care for over 300 patients, including malnourished children, disabled children and patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.  I have never been so amazed at what just six woman can accomplish.  It was heartwarming to watch her walk through the nursery while dozens of children cried because the electricity was out causing their only fan to stop. She was very deliberate to touch every single child as she comforted them without words.  Even though this sweet little woman had nothing, she still wanted to give us fruit from the hospitals garden – she washed it herself while on her knees.  The children were in the hospital above us singing, joyfully.  They may not have the luxuries we have in the United States, access to clean water, proper healthcare and nutrition – but what they do have is hope.  This little nun is the embodiment of Haiti, tenacity and a resilient courage.  I can tell you that there is hope for Haiti.

Please learn more about how MAP provides medicines at and learn more about our partners on the ground Hope for Haiti and Love A Child

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Business Pulse: How CDC Protects the Health of Your Business at Home and Abroad

By Charles Stokes, President and CEO, CDC Foundation

By Charles Stokes, President and CEO, CDC Foundation

If you’ve ever had influenza (the flu), you know how debilitating it can be. And there’s more at stake than just your health—when you can’t work there’s a ripple effect on your employer and the economy. In fact, it’s estimated that flu leads to an economic burden of more than $87 billion each year in the United States alone, along with 31.4 million outpatient visits and more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a wealth of useful global health guidance and advice for business—from protecting employees who travel abroad to advancing the world’s ability to responds to global health threats. The simple act of encouraging employees to get vaccinated can help protect your business’s productivity, whether your business operates here in Atlanta or in offices around the world.

One way to tap into CDC’s resources for business is through the CDC Foundation’s online Business Pulse series. Last week, the CDC Foundation launched the latest Business Pulse focused on flu prevention. There’s lots of great advice about how to prevent and control flu, including an interactive infographic that offers a quick snapshot of simple actions your business can take to protect your employees. One key takeaway is that flu can be serious for anyone, including those who are otherwise healthy. Further, the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated annually.

Beyond flu, Business Pulse focuses on a different topic each quarter, including the following:

  • Travelers’ health  highlights how CDC helps protect international business travelers from various health risks, such as infectious diseases, road hazards and environmental concerns.
  • Global health security describes CDC’s role in fighting global health threats, sharing how business leaders can take action to protect their workforces in the United States and abroad.
  • Business continuity provides insights about CDC’s work to help preserve continuity of operations and protect business before a crisis strikes.
  • Safe healthcare shares how CDC protects patients and lowers healthcare costs by addressing the growing problem of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance.

We’re pleased to offer Business Pulse as a series aimed at increasing awareness about the important public health work CDC does 24/7 to protect the well-being of our nation’s citizens, businesses and economy. Business Pulse conveys relevant information to employers, and, more importantly, provides opportunities for you to take action to protect the health of your employees and your business—at home and abroad.TravelHealth_web

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Toilets and Rape

By Stephanie Ogden, senior water policy advisor for CARE

By Stephanie Ogden, senior water policy advisor for CARE

In May, in the rural village of Katra in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, two teenage girls left their home at night to search for a place to use the toilet. They never came home. The girls were gang-raped, murdered and found the next day hanging from a tree.

As an organization that fights poverty, strives to advance opportunities for women and girls, and works to improve access to water and sanitation, this crime is particularly heartbreaking. No girl, woman, man, or boy should have his or her safety and security threatened by lack of a toilet.

The connection between access to toilets and personal safety is not widely understood in the United States, where most of us have a clean, safe, private place to flush away evidence of our most basic necessities.

But we are in the world’s lucky minority. Nearly 65% of people across the globe lack a safe, private toilet within a few steps of their home. And while rape is one risk that results, there are many more. They include cholera and diarrheal diseases, reduced educational attainment for young girls, stunting and malnutrition among infants, and, of course, the enduring, deep distress caused by being forced to do in public what you want to do in private. A person who is forced to defecate publicly is also forced to put the health of her or his community at risk.

We must not oversimplify. Many complex factors led to the deaths of these girls and millions like them. It’s not simply a lack of toilets putting people at risk of violence. Nevertheless, their deaths make it painfully apparent that access to sanitation is essential to personal and collective well-being. We need both to call attention to this fact and act on it.

In the U.S., the Water for the World Act ensures that we continue to allocate foreign assistance to increasing sustainable access to water and sanitation all over the world. It also ensures we allocate money wisely, monitor the progress of the programs funded, and ensure improvements to water and sanitation are sustainable.

The bill is simple and important, but it is in danger of failing in the House of Representatives when it comes up for a vote as soon as this week. We can stand up in honor of those two girls in Uttar Pradesh, and millions of girls like them, and help ensure that everyone in this world has access to a toilet and peace for at least a few important minutes every day. Let your representatives know that the Water for the World Act is important to you and to us as a nation.

No girl should be at risk of rape or violence in her own community. Ever. And no government should be complacent about rape or violence. Improved access to sanitation and water facilities around the world won’t end violent attacks on women, but they can meaningfully improve both the physical safety of girls and women, as well as the overall health of communities.

Please urge your representative to support the Water for the World Act.

Stephanie Ogden is a senior water policy advisor for CARE. Headquartered in Atlanta, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. To learn more, visit

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Atlanta Joins Together to Fight Ebola As Window Closes

1-Steve Stirling Gray Background

By Steve Stirling, President & CEO of MAP International

This past week Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC was very clear on his stance towards the Ebola outbreak.

“There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing. We need action now,” Frieden said.

Act now. That is something that we as the global health community have been working hard to do since the outbreak began in March, but there’s still so much more we must do.

Frieden went on to say “This is not just a problem for West Africa, it’s not just a problem for Africa. It’s a problem for the world, and the world needs to respond.”

Today, the Atlanta community is responding. NGOs, companies, universities and the general public are joining together to help ensure that this deadly virus ceases to exist. As a new member of that community, I couldn’t be more honored to stand alongside them. At MAP, our foundation is partnerships. Since our founding in 1954, we have continued our mission of “serving the servants”. It is a privilege to stand beside some of the world’s leading health organizations based here in Atlanta in providing aid to those afflicted by this rapidly spreading virus. 1-Ebola map-001This week, MAP is partnering with MedShare, whose mission is to provide medical supplies to those in most need. Joining together gives us the ability to respond more effectively in times of crisis and to have the most impact. These three airlifted shipments, one each to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will provide the hardest hit countries with four pallets of essential medical supplies and one pallet of vital pharmaceuticals.

MedShare is joined in this endeavor by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and UPS to provide those suffering with hope, through health. With the World Health Organization (WHO) predicting that more than 20,000 people could contract Ebola before the outbreak is contained the faculty and staff at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health have stepped up to be a beacon for health and public safety.

Joining with us, they are raising funds to send Personal Protection Suits (PPE’s) to healthcare workers in West Africa. Many of our partners on the ground in Liberia have been forced to close their doors because they have lost too many healthcare workers to this deadly virus. If we continue to work together we can save the lives of those healthcare workers still treating patients in West Africa and prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere.

So with that in mind, please consider not only donating to MAP’s relief efforts but also to one of our valued partners and sister organizations. Together we can stop this outbreak.

  • MAP International
  • MedShare
  • CARE
  • Georgia State University’s School of Public Health
  • The CDC Foundation
  • American Leprosy Missions

Steve Stirling is the President & CEO of MAP International, a global Christian health organization based in Georgia that partners with people living in conditions of poverty to save lives and develop healthier families and communities. To learn more about MAP

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First We Need to Understand the Problem

Many organizations and individuals in GA are eager to improve the health and well-being of those who are least well-off in countries around the world, including here in the United States. But public health and global health as fields, like many of the countries and people they aim to help, are poor and don’t have the resources or national commitments needed to achieve this worthy goal.  Therefore those of us in the non-profit and government sectors should work with the private sector to build on shared values, form a coalition, and leverage our resources to move the world closer to our goal of Global Health Equity. How do we do it?

Many organizations and individuals in GA are eager to improve the health and well-being of those who are least well-off in countries around the world, including here in the United States. But public health and global health as fields, like many of the countries and people they aim to help, are poor and don’t have the resources or national commitments needed to achieve this worthy goal. Therefore those of us in the non-profit and government sectors should work with the private sector to build on shared values, form a coalition, and leverage our resources to move the world closer to our goal of Global Health Equity. How do we do it?


By Dr. Louis Sullivan (National Health Museum), Dr. Russell Medford (Salutramed Group), Dr. Margaret Offermann (Salutramed Group), & Dr. Mark Rosenberg (The Task Force for Global Health)

Albert Einstein was once asked what he would do if he had one hour to save the world from an imminent danger.  He answered that if he had one hour, he would spend 55 minutes trying to understand the problem and 5 minutes to work on the solution.  He was suggesting that we often rush after solutions before we have adequately understood the problem.

Let’s start by defining a problem we have here in Georgia, in general, and Atlanta, in particular. We are the home to an impressive number of the nation’s and world’s most respected and accomplished organizations dedicated to the goal of global health equity and the improvement of health and living conditions both nationally and globally. These include CDC and the CDC Foundation, CARE, the Carter Center, Habitat for Humanity International, the American Cancer Society, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, the Morehouse School of Medicine, GA State, GA Tech, UGA, the Task Force for Global Health, and the National Health Museum, amongst others. To achieve these goals, each organization is making critical and worthy contributions through a wide variety of programs and initiatives. Yet, despite sharing the common goal of global health equity, we have not to date taken full advantage of the opportunities that collective action may have in helping achieve this goal.

Each of our Georgia based organizations is eager to improve the health and well-being of those who are least well-off in poor countries around the world.  And they do very many good things that move the world closer to this goal.  Because we have so many very good and dedicated organizations working to improve global health—a collection of truly outstanding organizations– Atlanta has sometimes been called the global health capital of the world.  But public health and global health as fields, like the countries and people they aim to help, are relatively poor and the problems are very large.  These organizations don’t have the resources needed to fully achieve this worthy goal.  No one of these organizations by itself has the resources necessary to solve the problems.

We have tried to bring organizations together to focus on a specific intervention where we thought each institution could play a role and where the overall goal was aligned with the goals of each organization.  And while there have been examples of successful collaboration across organizations—as well as unsuccessful examples—they did not serve the larger goal of forming an ongoing alliance among the organizations.  They were project-specific collaborations that ended when the project was completed or ran out of funds.  They often generated good will between organizations but they did not necessarily contribute to fostering additional joint efforts.  In addition, these partnerships were mostly among non-profit and academic organizations or non-profits and government, usually CDC.

So part of the problem is how to bring in the private sector with it’s own resources.  One way is to bring in the philanthropic parts of a business.  And there are examples of extraordinarily successful collaborations like Merk’s Mectizan Donation Program, where the company pledged to donate as much of the drug Mectizan as needed to treat river blindness in Africa, donating as much as needed for as long as its needed.  With this private sector donation, a coalition that includes non-profit organizations, the World Health Organization and the World Bank, more than 35 country ministries of Health, foundations, bilateral aid donors, UNICEF, and a large number of non-governmental implementing organizations, has managed to distribute more than a billion treatments and made it possible to work towards elimination of this once-neglected disease.

There are many examples of business philanthropy like this—called by Bill Foege “pharmacophilanthropy” and called by businesses “corporate social responsibility”– where business has worked successfully and effectively with the non-profit and government sectors to achieve impressive results.  For a long time, major pharmaceutical companies saw their role in Africa as limited to corporate philanthropy.  But now Africa is seen as a set of emerging markets and perhaps the most important new marketing challenge.   While the resources allocated across the board to corporate philanthropy are significant, the resources allocated for business and business-development purposes are orders of magnitude greater.  Is there a way to make those resources work for global health equity and provide a win-win for both global health and business.  How do we find a solution that will benefit all concerned, building on our shared interests?

Efforts to bring these organizations together for collective and synergistic action, as well as identifying Atlanta as the “Global Health Capital” have not been fully successful to date. But we believe there is a passion for working in global health. What we lack is the means to deliver our interventions together. We lack the resources to assemble the interventions, and we lack the capacity to deliver, be it human resources in the target country or an infrastructure to construct and physically operate and track the supply chain.  How can we organize and galvanize the collaboration that can get us out of our siloes and over the big hump constituted by our focusing just on our day jobs and our siloed work habits.  We hope we can engage your interest in this question, and over the next series of our blog posts we will try to identify some ways forward.

For now, we think it is worth spending at least 55 minutes trying to understand the problem.  It may be as important figuring out how we can do more good in the world as it is figuring out how to prevent a disaster.  In future blogs we will talk about starting to solve the problem.

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A Role for Everyone in Response to Global Health Threats

By Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation

By Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation

As the largest Ebola outbreak in history continues to ravage West Africa, the spread of the disease poses a major threat to human health and economies around the globe.

Today, a person can travel nearly anywhere in the world within 24 hours. That’s an amazing development of the modern age, but one posing significant challenges. That type of travel accessibility, for instance, means that a disease outbreak like Ebola or MERS is just one plane ride away from the United States. So, in essence, a health threat anywhere can quickly become a health threat everywhere.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based here in Atlanta, is the one government agency that has primary responsibility for protecting our health security and safeguarding our nation against dangerous health threats—whether those threats originate in the United States or abroad.

The CDC Foundation was created by Congress as an independent, nonprofit organization nearly 20 years ago to connect CDC with private-sector organizations and individuals to build public health programs that make our world healthier and safer.

The Foundation is currently supporting CDC’s response efforts to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has emphasized the seriousness of the current outbreak, calling it the most complex outbreak in the history of Ebola. CDC has deployed 70 staff members and officers from the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) to the affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Commonly known as disease detectives, EIS officers are prepared to travel to any corner of the world at a moment’s notice to assist with disease control and prevention efforts. The epidemiological work of EIS officers involves outbreak investigation, surveillance and management.

Greg, a U.S. Public Health Service officer and disease detective, was recently deployed to Africa for the third time during his service at CDC. “Being safe and careful are guiding principles of our mission to stop the spread of Ebola,” he said in his profile on CDC’s website. “My short-term goal is to help do the basics of public health epidemiology—preventing the spread through contact tracing—with the long-term goal of ending the outbreak. It will happen, but only through painstaking hard work.”

A member of the CDC team leads a training session on Ebola infection control in Lagos, Nigeria. Health officials say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever. Photographer: Benjamin Park

A member of the CDC team leads a training session on Ebola infection control in Lagos, Nigeria. Health officials say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever.
Photographer: Benjamin Park

We at the CDC Foundation have recently put into action a way for our organization and our donors to get involved and support the work of the brave women and men of CDC who are involved in the Ebola response. We are providing critical assistance and materials to CDC through donations made to the CDC Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund, which enables CDC staff to respond quickly to changing circumstances and needs.

Among the immediate needs are personal protective equipment for all people in contact with patients with Ebola virus disease; communications equipment for staff in the field; equipment to establish and run emergency operations centers in each country; and support for health communication campaigns to reach affected populations. Of course, there will be unanticipated needs as well in the response to this epidemic. Funds donated to the CDC Foundation can be deployed and put to work where needed with CDC and its partners.

Ongoing support will be key to successfully managing Ebola in West Africa. Supporting CDC’s life-saving work through a donation to the CDC Foundation helps the agency in its real-time response to the current outbreak while enhancing disease surveillance and response in these countries going forward.

Join us to help stop the Ebola outbreak.


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Humanitarian Relief and the American Way


By Jonathan Mitchell, Senior Vice President for International Programs and Operations for CARE.

The migration of 60,000 unaccompanied children to the United States from Central America this year has been rightly dubbed a humanitarian crisis by observers across the political spectrum. It’s not the first time a surge in migrants has overwhelmed the capacity of the United States to respond. Perhaps the most famous example in recent memory was the so-called Mariel Boatlift from Cuba, which saw more than 120,000 refugees arriving in the United States between April and September 1980.

Watching the news about the developments on the United States’ southern border reminds me of my first encounter with a refugee crisis 23 years ago. I was flying to the northeast of Kenya to assess how the global humanitarian organization CARE might be able to help Somalis fleeing their country’s civil war. From the air I saw a trail of slowly moving people all the way to the horizon in the direction of Somalia. When our plane landed, I discovered that the people were mostly women carrying malnourished children for dozens, sometimes hundreds of miles across a barren landscape to avoid the violence and starvation into which their home towns had collapsed.

The refugee camp CARE helped to open in Dadaab, Kenya in 1991 was designed to shelter 90,000 people until the crisis in Somalia could be resolved. 23 years later it shelters more than 350,000 Somalis, some of whom have been there since its first weeks. It doesn’t appear on maps, but it’s actually Kenya’s fourth largest city and the world’s largest refugee camp. To this day, the population ebbs and flows in rhythm with conflicts and instability in Somalia.

I’ve responded to many crises throughout my career, but what I witnessed in Dadaab has stayed with me. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t an outsider flying in to help strangers. I grew up in Kenya. Like many Americans feel today, I felt then that my country was in crisis.

When refugees cannot go home and cannot legally integrate into the country of their temporary asylum, resettlement to a third country is sometimes the only solution – the only means for these victims of circumstances beyond their control to start over. Wealthy nations, including the United States have agreed to take accept a limited number of refugees each year. In 2013, the U.S. accepted more than 70,000 refugees.

Since moving to Atlanta in 2011 to work in CARE’s headquarters, I’ve been impressed and moved by the city’s embrace of its refugees. The metro area has one of the highest concentrations of refugees in the country. For many of them, it’s the first time in their lives they’ve been offered a chance to live a secure, stable life. Since moving to Atlanta I’ve also been able to stay involved with refugees who have arrived here through serving on the Board of Refugee Family Services — an Atlanta-based group that with others helps refugee families become productive members of our community.

Refugee resettlement is not without challenges, but the benefits of embracing refugees from global conflicts are clear. Refugees are a legal, skilled, highly-motivated workforce. 80 percent of the refugees in Georgia are employed within six months of arriving in the United States. They come here as ordinary, humble, grateful people, who far more often than not, embrace their new country with zeal. They attend universities, buy homes, raise children and, like every immigrant group in the United States, give back to their new home country the diverse fruits of their culture and history.

The best way to help refugees is to stop the conflicts that cause people to flee for their lives in the first place. But today, when there are more refugees from world conflicts than at any point since the end of World War II, it’s important that governments and individuals alike respect and embrace our collective legal and moral obligation protect refugees. This includes refraining from premature and involuntary returns, and increasing our commitment to providing resettlement, and supporting organizations like Refugee Family Services that help refugees restart their lives. August 19 is World Humanitarian Day. Let’s honor it by recommitting ourselves to its principles every day.

Jonathan Mitchell is Senior Vice President for International Programs and Operations for CARE. Headquartered in Atlanta, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. To learn more, visit

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Ebola: A Word That Strikes Fear

1-Steve Stirling Gray Background

Steve Stirling, President and CEO of MAP International

Ebola.  Until recent months this was a virus that most Americans were unfamiliar with, or referenced with E Coli.  Now, the word Ebola breeds fear and loss as we look at over 800 lives lost and more to come in West Africa.

The Ebola virus has not been contained and is spreading rapidly throughout West Africa.

In March, just days after the WHO declared Ebola as an outbreak, MAP International began its response by providing infectious disease protective suites or Ebola Suits in order to prevent the loss of those trying to save lives.

With staff on the ground from MAP’s office in Liberia, MAP is closely coordinating efforts with the national health authorities and other international responders through regular participation in Health Action in Crises (HAC) meetings.   The MAP International West Africa Regional Office and MAP Global Essential Medicines and Supplies (GEMS) Program are working with MAP Liberia to coordinate all phases of the response.  MAP also works with multiple partners including The American Leprosy Mission and Partners International to provide critical medicines and Ebola relief supplies to West Africa, these partnerships are essential in containing this outbreak.

Now, 5 months into this horrific outbreak, MAP has provided over 17,200 Personal Protective Kits (PPE’s) and over $5 million in emergency response supplies to clinics and hospitals fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Steve with Haiti Shipment Love a ChildYou might look at 17,200 suits and think that’s excessive, but the reality is that in the high heat environment in West Africa each suit is only viable for a short amount of time.  Healthcare workers go through multiple suits a day to avoid contracting the deadly Ebola virus.

To fight Ebola we must contain it, there is an end in sight.

If you would like to help contain this outbreak in West Africa you can donate to MAP International’s Relief Fund now at

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