On November 10, Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez will give the keynote address on NTDs at the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference, focused this year on NTDs and rare diseases. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers was established by Pope John Paul II to help coordinate the Vatican’s health care related activities. Its work is rooted in the Church’s mission to care for the sick by dedicating its efforts to help health care workers and those serving the sick and suffering. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference will be one of its capstone events, as the Council will be assumed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on January 1, 2017.
The annual meeting of the Health Ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) countries took place from September 11-12, 2016, in Kobe, Japan. The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) was pleased to see the G7 Health Ministers Kobe Communiqué reiterate a continued emphasis on strengthening efforts to control infectious diseases through international cooperation. As the Health Ministers concluded, “Health is the foundation of human security…We are determined to commit to a healthier world, where all people can receive the basic quality services they need, and are protected from public health threats.”
During my many years as a diplomat, I saw firsthand how the power of collective action can be extraordinarily important in shaping momentous changes. A few examples include: the creation of the PEPFAR program to combat HIV/AIDS, the accelerated response to terrorism following the East African embassy bombings, effective international coordination to tackle the SARS and avian flu threats, and the constructive collaboration between the United States and Vietnam on the issue of Agent Orange.