At first, I leaned toward keeping our kids vaccine-free. I thought the concern about vaccination made sense. But after hearing both sides of the argument, I decided facts were my friends. I couldn't rely on word-of-mouth, friend-of-a-friend information. It was going to require actual research from vetted sources; I wanted the truth.
The past two decades have shown that it pays to invest in girls and women, and we have seen tremendous improvements in some areas. However, challenges remain, and progress has been uneven across regions and within countries.
Where women and families live should not determine if they live -- this is the philosophy driving Jhpiego's work in 14 countries to defeat malaria, a disease that impacts millions primarily in low-income countries.
When we think of what a child needs, we think of food, water, shelter and of course, love. Access to education, health care, safety and freedom are also crucial. However, after meeting countless children around the world when I travel, I've come to realize there is one thing a child needs the most: hope.
In far too many places, being a school girl is dangerous business. Girls face the threat of violence on the bus ride to school, the afternoon walk home, or even during a bathroom break. The barriers that prevent girls from going to school vary. But what's clear in any community is that education can change everything for a student.
Getting a toilet into every home could be one of the best ways to promote equality for girls and women. A piece published on BBC India last year, explained that defecating in the open puts women in a dangerous position.
Top Kenyan marathons have joined together to raise funds to reduce the unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality. These marathoners are passionate about this issue because most of them have been personally affected.
It was at that moment that something clicked for me. These water businesses could do so much more than just increase access to clean water; they could provide opportunities for an often marginalized group in northern Ghana -- women -- in an area where they were already experts.
For María Guadalupe, a young woman from Guatemala, the celebration of Mother's Day can bring up painful emotions. It's a day when she feels sadness around the loss of her mom, who passed away when she was 15.
There is a child right now trying to figure how he will eat and how he will feed his younger siblings. Right now, there is a child trying to figure out how to hide herself and her siblings in the bush away from those who will do them harm.
Brand-new research reveals that whether a child is normal weight, overweight, or obese at age 5 is hugely indicative of weight at age 50. If a child is obese at age 9, the correlation is even greater; at age 15, it's still worse. This extraordinary finding means that trajectories of weight gain starting at age 5 can be linked through ages 9 and 15 all the way to middle age.
When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke the famous words "women's rights are human rights," it was more than just great rhetoric: It was a powerful reminder that the world can never achieve true progress if half our population is left behind.
I grew up in the U.S., in middle class social circles that often viewed children as an annoyance and inconvenience. So I was struck by the genuine joy almost everyone -- girls, boys, adult women and even some adult men -- in rural Nepal took in the company of children.
We have already come a long way in reducing the total number of polio cases globally, and it is just a matter of time before polio is a disease of the past.
Growing up in Senegal, I lived in what we in the global health community might call a "pronatalist" environment -- meaning that women and communities prefer large families. Contraception was, and often still is, difficult to come by, and many women die as a result of childbirth complications (289,000 per year worldwide, in fact).
We are less than 30 days away from the opening of the Universal Exhibition in Milan, an incredible opportunity for Italy, for world tourism, to learn about the global challenges of food security and healthy nutrition through worldwide best practices.
For women in the world's most economically deprived countries, collecting water is a key part of preparing to give birth -- if they are lucky enough to have a source of water that they can use.
In 2012, my children and I awoke to the sound of heavy clashes erupting outside of our home in Qudsaya, Syria. We could hear the sound of bullets and gunfire dangerously close to us. I was scared and on the verge of tears, but I refused to let my children see me cry.
In the case of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Mambwe primary school is evidence of the latest paradigm: Improving student achievement in schools and respective literacy tests depends on having a "safe environment" in the school, including water and sanitation.
I've been privileged to lead PEPFAR for a year now, working with countries to achieve the potential of an AIDS-free generation, together.