The First Mile and Beyond
How the Task Force for Global Health serves world's poorest countries
The Task Force for Global Health is an Atlanta-based international organization committed to addressing large-scale health problems affecting people living in extreme poverty. The Task Force consists of programs focused on neglected tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, public health informatics, and health workforce development.
The Task Force was founded in 1984 by Dr. William H. Foege, a renowned epidemiologist and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who is credited with developing the strategy that led to the eradication of smallpox.
“The task force was founded to bring the biggest global health and development agencies in the world together,“ said Barbara Ann Luttrell, a communication specialist.
The Task Force partners with hundreds of local organization (CDC, EGHI, CARE, etc) to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases and increase access to vaccines and medicine to people who live in extreme poverty.
“There are a lot of obstacles and challenges we face, it takes a lot of unique skills and expertise to take on these challenges,” Luttrell said. The Task Force aims to eliminate three neglected tropical diseases by 2025: blinding trachoma, river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis. They also plan to eradicate polio by 2018.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced the Task Force For Global Health as this year’s recipient of the $2 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian prize.
“This recognition demonstrates the power of our collaborative model to solve large-scale health problems,” said Paul Olson, another communication specialist.
The Hilton Foundation recognizes one agency a year that had an extraordinary contribution to alleviating human suffering. The foundation itself doesn’t choose the winner, an international anonymous jury does. “It is the biggest award and the most prestigious. We are very honored and privileged to receive this award,” Luttrell said.