Ending millions of preventable deaths through more equitable, effective health systems in communities around the world

Computers on wrists can track steps and heart rates 24/7, yet over 16,000 children die every day from things as basic as pneumonia and diarrhea. Individual and population collective health are jeopardized by an array of challenges, including food insecurity and poor nutrition, infectious and non-communicable diseases, and, in many developing countries, uneven access to quality care at the community level.

The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history in health—from eradicating hookworm in the American South, to creating the field of public health, to developing the yellow fever vaccine. We continue to support innovative strategies that incentivize individuals, communities, governments, and funders to address the breadth of variables that contribute to healthy societies.

Today, our portfolio of work in health includes support for Planetary Health, Universal Health Coverage, and Disease Surveillance Networks. We are actively exploring new ways of connecting hard to reach communities to digitally-enabled health care.

Our Current Initiatives

Planetary Health

Unparalleled public health, agricultural, industrial, and technical advancements of the 20th century created the conditions for better health for billions of people. Yet this tremendous socio-economic progress is taking a heavy toll on the Earth’s natural systems. Between unsustainable resource consumption and population growth, there is growing evidence that the planet’s capacity to sustain the growing human population is declining.

Transforming Health Systems

While health spending has increased dramatically around the world, access to affordable, quality services—without the risk of financial hardship—has lagged. At the same time, though health systems increasingly serve as buffers between vulnerable communities and crises, inadequate and ill-resourced national health systems lack the capacity to meet daily health needs, let alone anticipate, prepare for, and recover from health shocks down the line.

Disease Surveillance Networks

Over the last two decades, the global health and economic impacts of SARS, H5N1, H1N1, and Ebola have raised global awareness of pandemic threats. In many cases, the most at-risk regions lacked the capacity to effectively monitor and report the first signs of outbreaks within their nations—let alone coordinate such communications with neighboring countries.

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