SOURCE: WGBH

October 31, 2005 10:00 ET

"Rx for Survival" Web Site Examines the Challenges and Successes of Global Health and How Individuals Can Help

New Features Extend Depth and Reach of "Rx for Survival" and "Rx for Child Survival" pbs.org/rxforsurvival

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 31, 2005 -- "Rx for Survival -- A Global Health Challenge"™ is a pioneering multimedia project that explores the current global health crisis and the solutions that promise to make our borderless society healthier. At the center of the project is a compelling six-hour documentary series premiering on PBS, November 1-3, co-produced by the award winning team of the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit and Vulcan Productions. In addition, a comprehensive Web site on PBS.org offers in-depth information on global health issues, including an interactive atlas comparing socio-economic indicators with the spread of disease, essays and case studies on why global health matters, and classroom materials. "Rx for Survival" will be further extended by independent media coverage in the first week of November from TIME magazine, NPR, and The Penguin Press.

In addition, co-producers WGBH Educational Foundation and Vulcan Productions have launched "Rx for Child Survival," a campaign to raise awareness of the more than 10 million children under the age of five who die each year worldwide -- a majority from preventable causes -- and experts agree that nearly all of them would have had a much better chance at life if they had access to simple, inexpensive health interventions. The campaign also encourages people to speak out, volunteer time and energy, and donate money to programs that give the world's most vulnerable children a fighting chance at life.

The "Rx for Survival" Web site at pbs.org/rxforsurvival gives users the chance to learn more about global health and become involved in efforts to improve the health of people around the world.

Visitors to the expanded "Rx for Survival" site can:

- Watch a preview of the "Rx for Survival" series, as well as a public
  service announcement highlighting "Rx for Child Survival"

- Explore why global health matters in a series of essays and case
  studies

- Examine social and economic indicators such as life expectancy, wealth,
  and education, compare those with the global disease burden, and decide
  for themselves how and why they might be connected in our interactive
  Global Health Atlas.

- Meet some of the 20th century's global health champions and learn more
  about their successes and what motivates them

- Read profiles of some of the most deadly diseases throughout history --
  how they spread and how public health officials fight back

- Ask the Experts: submit questions to our three panels -- The Vaccination
  Question, International Health Aid, and The Next Pandemic? -- until
  November 8, 2005. The expert panelists will answer a representative
  sample of questions, and their responses will be posted in late November.

- Send an e-postcard emphasizing the importance of global health issues
  or inviting a friend to watch "Rx for Survival"

- Learn how national global health policy is set, including the main steps
  in the budget process

- Download educational activities, including pre- and post-viewing
  discussion questions, for middle and high school teachers and students
  with a focus on health, science, and social studies

In addition, visitors will still be able to:

- Explore a detailed overview of the "Rx for Survival" project: the
  documentary series, the many media partners, and the "Rx for Child
  Survival" campaign.

- Learn what it is like on the frontlines of global health from personal
  accounts posted by producers and healthcare workers around the world
  in ongoing Dispatches from the Field.

- Ensure that children in need receive basic health interventions by
  following links to make a secure donation to the "Rx for Child Survival"
  campaign, facilitated by international fulfillment partners CARE and
  Save the Children.

- Discover ways to get involved on both local and global levels and find
  the ideas and tools you need to help make it all happen.

- Follow links to our partners' sites to learn how to speak out among
  friends and neighbors, write to the media and contact your local
  officials.

- Celebrate health with the Global Health calendar -- a list of important
  dates related to the campaign, to local and national campaign events,
  and to world health in general.

- Subscribe to the "Rx for Survival" e-mail newsletter or browse previous
  issues in the archive.

Major funding for "Rx for Survival -- A Global Health Challenge" is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Merck Company Foundation.

WGBH/NOVA Science Unit

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle and children's programs and many public radio favorites. One of its premiere programs, "NOVA," is a production of the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit. Now in its 31st year of broadcasting, "NOVA" is the most popular science series on American television and is seen in more than 100 countries. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. "NOVA"'s programs are used extensively in classrooms around the country and the "NOVA" website is consistently the most trafficked on pbs.org. In 1998, the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation awarded "NOVA" its first-ever Public Service Award. "NOVA" has won every major broadcasting award, including the Emmy, the Peabody, the AAAS Westinghouse Science Journalism Award, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Gold Baton. For more information on WGBH and "NOVA," respectively, visit wgbh.org and pbs.org/nova.

Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Productions is the independent film production company founded by investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen in 1997. Vulcan Productions devotes itself exclusively to producing independent films of unique vision and artistic quality. With feature film projects such as "Hard Candy," "Far From Heaven," "The Safety of Objects," and award-winning documentaries such as Martin Scorsese's "The Blues," "Evolution," "Black Sky: The Race for Space" and "Black Sky: Winning The X-Prize," the company commits its talent and resources to creating films of substance and enduring significance. Through its collaborative partnerships with established and emerging filmmakers, Vulcan Productions explores creative opportunities that result in engaging and inspirational storytelling. Visit Vulcan Productions online at vulcanproductions.com.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.org) works to promote greater equity in four areas: global health, education, public libraries, and support for at-risk families in Washington state and Oregon in the United States. The Seattle-based foundation joins local, national and international partners to ensure that advances in these areas reach those who need them most. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health program is dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world. The foundation focuses on the health problems that cause the greatest burden in the developing world, but receive relatively little attention and resources -- diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, vaccine-preventable diseases, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. The foundation's global health grantmaking supports two primary approaches to improving health: research to develop new tools like vaccines, drugs and diagnostics; and strategies to accelerate access to the health solutions that already exist.

The Merck Company Foundation is a United States-based private charitable foundation established in 1957 by Merck & Co., Inc., a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines in more than 20 therapeutic categories.

The Merck Company Foundation is funded entirely by the Company and is Merck's chief source of funding support to qualified non-profit charitable organizations. The mission of the Foundation is to support organizations and innovative programs in the United States and around the world that: expand access to medicines, vaccines and quality health care; build capacity in the biomedical and health sciences; promote environments that encourage innovation, economic growth and development in a fair and ethical context; and support communities where Merck has a major presence. Since its inception, The Merck Company Foundation has supported initiatives that address societal needs and are consistent with Merck's overall mission to enhance the health and well-being of people around the world.

For more information on Merck and The Merck Company Foundation, visit www.merck.com.

Contact Information

  • CONTACTS:

    WGBH Boston
    Lisa Cerqueira
    Tel: 617-300-5334
    Email Contact
    pressroom.wgbh.org

    Vulcan Productions
    Jason J. Hunke
    Tel: 206-342-2277
    Email Contact