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PATH: Winner's Statement

Social Capitalists

PATH

A Catalyst for Global Health

Every year, millions of people in the developing world die because they were born in countries without the resources to meet these simple needs. Treatments, technologies, and services that are readily available in the United States never reach the regions where they can do the most good.

PATH works to solve emerging and persistent health problems and to close the gap between what exists and what is possible. We improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors.

In the past 25 years, PATH has led projects in more than 120 countries, improving the lives of millions of people worldwide.

Advancing technologies
PATH has advanced more than 30 health technologies that meet a specific need and are acceptable, available, and affordable in low-resource settings. Sometimes we develop these technologies ourselves; sometimes we adapt a strong idea and help bring it to the market.

The partnerships we forge with the private sector and with our global health colleagues put these products in the hands of the people who can use them best to fight the deadly and debilitating diseases that threaten the developing world.

Strengthening systems
Stable health systems are the foundation for better health. PATH shares information and resources with policymakers, trains health workers, and provides technical assistance to program administrators.

We join with ministries of health where infant mortality rates are high to train midwives and launch media campaigns, improving newborn care. We teach pharmacists how to better serve the reproductive and sexual health needs of vulnerable adolescents. We partner with our global health colleagues to improve disease surveillance and give local organizations the data they need to create effective immunization programs. We work to improve the resilience of the whole system, strengthening the chain, rather than a single link.

Encouraging healthy behaviors
Because long-held beliefs and fears can be as great a barrier to better health as weak health systems, PATH approaches global health issues at the community level, by encouraging people to confront traditions and choices that contribute to the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, to gender-based violence, and to the unnecessary deaths of mothers and children.

At the heart of this work is sensitivity to people and to cultures. PATH's first step is to listen. Our next step is to engage individuals and communities in dialogue that leads to change.

To make dialogue possible, we use street theater performances that draw audiences into the action; peer education that gives young people a safe place to confront difficult issues; comic books, television shows, and video games that both entertain and educate. We draw on the knowledge and talents of the people with whom we work, using their feedback to guide us and enlisting actors, teachers, storytellers, and health workers from their midst. In China, Africa, Central America, and Eastern Europe, PATH's programs spread new ideas through populations, from person to person, one community at a time.

You are the catalyst
PATH's farthest-reaching projects start with individual donations -- flexible funding that seeds new solutions to global health crises. Flexible donations reflect vision: vision and the understanding that these gifts are the hooks for foundation and government grants. Donations from individuals and families allow us to explore opportunities, test new strategies, and invent early prototypes that lead to projects with enormous impact. With flexible funding, PATH has:

  • Conducted studies and created a prototype of an improved female condom.
  • Trained members of women's associations in Mali to advocate for alternatives to female genital mutilation.
  • Developed a curriculum for teaching safe sexual practices to young men -- a group that is too often excluded from programs aimed at improving reproductive health -- in Vietnam.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.