Viewpoint: Leading With Our Hearts and Minds

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As the UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis and the former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator overseeing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), I have become an expert at presenting facts and figures to justify expenditures on AIDS and TB.  And that’s fine.  It is imperative that those who run and advocate for global health programs prove that money invested in providing assistance to those who are suffering from deadly infectious diseases is being spent well.

In fact, I believe that Congress and the new administration have an obligation to continue to hold our feet to the fire.  Measuring efficiency and effectiveness is critical for accountability and ensuring progress.  At the same time, we must all take a step back and remember why the United States embraced the challenge of tackling global health in the first place.  It wasn’t a matter of numbers, it was a matter of hearts and minds.

In introducing PEPFAR during his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush declared that “we must all remember our calling, as a blessed county, is to make the world better.”  He reminded Americans that we had an ethical responsibility as those who hold the resources to help those in need of care. At a Uganda clinic, President Bush emphatically stated the words of the Gospel: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

In his confirmation hearing, our new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that, “quite simply, we are the only global superpower with the means and the moral compass capable of shaping the world for good.”  With these words, Tillerson signaled that “smart power” will be a guiding force of the Trump administration’s foreign policy agenda.

Source: The Hill (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public policy