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Rx for Survival- A Global Health Challenge

Rx for Survival – A Global Health Challenge examined some of the most critical and under-acknowledged health threats facing the world today.  A cross-platform media blitz funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a PBS documentary series, NPR radio series, Time cover issue, and Penguin Press companion book brought global health to the forefront of American consciousness. A publicity and advertising campaign supported awareness of these media elements. 

The social impact campaign, Rx for Child Survival, had an arm directed at journalists and public influencers and included a global health newsroom guide, free Johns Hopkins undergraduate course, House proclamation on global health, and congressional Global Health Caucus events.

The public element of the impact campaign included partnerships with Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF, Girl Scouts, Rotary International, American Academy of Pediatrics, and more. It encouraged engaged audiences to make a difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children by raising awareness, speaking out, volunteering time, and donating money. The campaign attracted top influencers including Brad Pitt, Sherry Lansing, Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Allen, Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Farmer, Jim Kim, Gerry Laybourne, Madeleine Albright, and Bill Clinton. 


Benchmark research prior to the project revealed that global health was an “over there” issue for most Americans. Rx for Survival brought the issue “here.” Some 66 million people saw the multimedia project content. The project’s marketing garnered 500M positive media impressions and overall media coverage of the global health topic increased by 30%. Shortly after the project, Bill and Melinda Gates appeared on the cover of Time magazine as “People of the Year” for their work on global health. Demonstrating real attitude change, Americans’ awareness of and predisposition to get involved in global health increased by 37% (goal of 10%). This translated into action: donations to child survival for Save the Children increased by 170% and for CARE by 93%. In turn, this contributed to real change: the U.S.’s funding for AIDS, malaria, and TB tripled and worldwide and child mortality decreased by 40%. Through its educational elements and institutional change, the project seeded a long-term legacy of activism for global health and child survival.

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