Going the Last Mile: Delivering Dramatic, Sustainable Global Health Gains

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah presented the David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In his comments, Dr. Shah issued a challenge to the development community around a set of transformational goals. He also reaffirmed USAID's commitment to the President's Global Health Initiative.

Highlights from the speech include:

“NIH represents one of America's core competitive advantages: advancing science, technology and innovation aimed directly at improving human welfare."

"President Obama's Global Health Initiative is making real progress—proving that in global health, saving money saves lives."


"If we can target the freed resources provided by GHI toward the expansion of new scientific breakthroughs, I believe by 2016, we can:

  • save the lives of over 3 million children
  • prevent more than 12 million HIV infections
  • avert 700,000 malaria deaths
  • ensure nearly 200,000 pregnant women can safely give birth
  • prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies
  • cure 2.4 million people infected with TB."


"We cannot simply seek to do more of the same in an effort to provide services using currently available tools and technologies. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on facilitating a continuum of invention and innovation from bench to bush."

"Our experience with GHI has made clear: our largest opportunities to improve human health do not lie in optimizing services to the 20% of people in the developing world currently reached by health systems; they lie in extending our reach to the 80% who lack access to health facilities."


"We will set goals, design strategies, and cut the time it takes to transform discoveries in the lab to success on the ground—shortening the distance between bench and bush in everything we do."

"We will develop a center of excellence to accelerate product development and field introduction, bringing in industry experts and academic fellows to inform our thinking, and investing seed capital in promising ideas wherever they are found."

"We will work with firms to make sure their biomedical products can reach the poorest people in the poorest countries, while recognizing their need to profit."

"To keep us all focused on whether we really are changing the field of global health, we will release an annual accountability review of global health technology, detailing product introduction and adoption, and identifying areas where we can accelerate progress."

"And finally across this next year, we will unveil a series of scientific and technical challenge grant programs designed to focus the community on inventing the breakthroughs that can truly span the last mile."

"So I look forward to what we might achieve by 2016. I look forward to our chance to say our collective efforts led to real results."

An archived version of this speech can be found at: http://videocast.nih.gov/.

For more information about USAID, visit www.usaid.gov.

Last updated: October 05, 2017

Share This Page