History

The Task Force was initially founded to solve one global health challenge – low, global, childhood immunization rates. Since then, the world has turned to us to help them solve some of the toughest health challenges we face.

As reflected in our original name, The Task Force for Child Survival, our early work focused on health issues affecting children around the world. We later became The Task Force for Global Health to reflect the expanded breadth of our programs that address the health needs of populations around the world. To learn more about our history and progress over the years, check out our Annual Reports and our co-founder, Dr. Foege’s book, The Task Force for Child Survival.

Following are some of the defining moments in our history:

1984
The Task Force for Child Survival is founded at the Bellagio conference in Italy by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Bill Foege and his colleagues Carol Walters and Bill Watson, with the specific goal of raising low childhood immunization rates in developing countries. The Task Force’s founding partners were the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rockefeller Foundation, The World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme.
1984
1985
The Task Force hosts “Protecting the World’s Children,” a conference in Cartagena, Colombia, to spur countries to commit to the child survival goals set at the Bellagio conference.
1985
1987
The Mectizan® Donation Program (MDP) is launched to control and eliminate river blindness. Merck’s commitment to donate the anti-parasitic drug, Mectizan® ushers in the era known as “pharmacophilanthropy” that has since resulted in billions of dollars of donations of essential medicines for neglected tropical diseases (NTD) and other infectious diseases.
1987
1988
Polio eradication work begins. The Task Force hosts the conference “Protecting the World’s Children: An Agenda for the 1990s”in Tallories, France, with a focus on reducing maternal and childhood mortality.
1988
1991
The Task Force for Child Survival becomes The Task Force for Child Survival and Development to reflect an expanded mission. At a Task Force conference convened in Cartagena, Colombia, countries commit to the child survival goals made at the Bellagio conference in 1984.
1991
1992
All Kids Count is launched to help community-based immunization registries become fully operational in the United States.
1992
1995
The Task Force begins work with partners to help build the Polio Eradication Laboratory Network.
1995
1998
The Task Force hosts the “Conference on Global Disease Elimination and Eradication as Public Health Strategies.”
1998
2000
Bill Foege retires as executive director and is succeeded by Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP.
2000
2002
The Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) is born out of All Kids Count to strengthen public health’s approach to conceiving and using information systems.
2002
2005
The Mebendazole Donation Initiative (later renamed Children Without Worms) is launched with support from Johnson & Johnson to reduce the burden of soil-transmitted helminth infections (intestinal worms) in school-age children in Africa, Asia, and Central America. The Polio Antiviral Drugs Initiative is formed to support polio eradication.
2005
2005
The Lymphatic Filariasis Support Center (later becoming the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center) moves from Emory University to The Task Force and paves the way for The Task Force to become a leading voice in neglected tropical diseases.
2005
2006
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable joins The Task Force to develop and implement a national strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis. At a Task Force symposium, leading hearts and minds in global health reflect on the critical importance of collaboration. The symposium results in the formation of the Center for Global Health Collaboration at The Task Force.
2006
2007
The African Health Workforce Project becomes part of The Task Force. The project focuses on strengthening human resource information systems for healthcare workers to ensure a strong healthcare workforce.
2007
2008
TEPHINET (Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network) merges with The Task Force. TEPHINET is a global network of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) with a vision that all people are protected by a field epidemiology workforce capable of detecting and responding to health threats. The Task Force moves to a new headquarters building in Decatur, GA
2008
2009
The International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) merges with The Task Force and begins scaling up efforts to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem. The Task Force changes its name to The Task Force for Global Health to reflect the expanded emphasis on health for all.
2009
2010
The Task Force brings together global health leaders to examine the role of compassion in global health.
2010
2011
The Center for Vaccine Equity (now consisting of the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction, Polio Eradication Center, Global Funders Consortium for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development, the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, and the Brighton Collaboration) is founded to provide all people with equal access to vaccines and to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.
2011
2013
The Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) is launched to increase access to seasonal influenza vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.
2013
2016
The Task Force receives the $2-million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian award. Mark Rosenberg retires as president and chief executive officer. He is succeeded by Dave Ross, ScD.
2016
2018
The Task Forces moves to its new headquarters at 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. in downtown Decatur. Fifteen programs now share The Task Force umbrella including three that were added this year: The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, MedSurplus Alliance, Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination.
2018
2018
MedSurplus Alliance (MSA) joins The Task Force as a new program to help improve the quality of health care in clinics and health facilities in low-income settings and keep usable medical equipment, biomedical devices and supplies out of landfills.
2018
2018
The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy is started and The Task Force becomes the secretariat to help accelerate progress towards ending the plague of leprosy.
2018
2018
The Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination starts at The Task Force to stop the spread of viral hepatitis B and C, expanding The Task Force's portfolio of disease expertise.
2018

30 Years of Seeing Faces

Watch our documentary, “30 Years of Seeing the Faces,” to learn more about our history and how The Task Force has evolved over the years.

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