Ban appeals to philanthropists to battle five deadly diseases

Philanthropists should invest in the world's future by accelerating the battle against five of the deadliest infectious diseases that kill millions of people annually, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday.

Ban made the statement during the Second Annual Forbes 400 Summit, which took place in New York at the U.N. headquarters. Ban said that while progress is being made against polio, malaria and HIV, increased engagement from the private sector and philanthropic community is needed to improve health and strengthen the world's economy.

"Today we have the power and the knowledge to wipe out deaths from five of the world's biggest health threats: malaria, polio, tetanus, measles and HIV infections in newborns," Ban said. "We can do this not just in our lifetimes, but in just five years."

Ban also highlighted the need for the world to eliminate cholera in Haiti. Since the outbreak of cholera in Haiti in 2010, the disease infected more than 620,000 people and killed more than 7,750 individuals. He said the U.N. is doing what it can, but there is still a significant funding gap. Haiti needs clean drinking water, sanitation and doses of the oral cholera vaccine.

"What Haiti needs is a partner ready to provide $1 million a year for the next three to five years to underwrite free vaccines for the poor and vulnerable people who need them most," Ban said. "The U.N. will do its part to raise resources and strengthen the cholera response, but we also need partners who can make a difference for the people of Haiti."

Ban said the U.N. supports philanthropic initiatives and the establishment of partnerships that can save millions of lives around the world.