A New Campaign For Frist

Bill Frist is devoting himself to the medical care of children in developing countries.
It's about as far from the halls of power in Washington as you get, but a visit to a small health clinic in Bangladesh is part of the reinvention of heart surgeon and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

"My focus now is pretty much humanitarian efforts, looking at not just the health of the individual that you do as a physician, but now addressing the health of the globe," Frist tells CBS News medical contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Last fall, Dr. Frist announced he was giving up his Senate seat and a possible presidential run, deciding to devote his time to raising awareness of childhood mortality in developing countries.

Almost 28,000 children under age 5 die every day worldwide from preventable or treatable causes. That adds up to 10 million children each year; four in 10 of these deaths are newborns -- babies who are not even a month old.

"You can literally save about two-thirds of the 28,000 kids who are dying today cheaply with proven technology," he says. "It's just a matter of action."

Two of the biggest killers of children are pneumonia and diarrhea. Frist believes that if we increase funding to child survival programs, many more children could be saved with very simple steps: vaccinations, antibiotics, and better childhood nutrition, including vitamin A to ward off infections.

"Giving that vitamin A to a baby ... those two little drops, putting it in that mouth, recognizing that vitamin A, a few cents, a few cents a year, will save the life of that child," Frist said.

Even though his previous job was to drive the Republican agenda in the Senate, Frist now models himself after an icon of the political left.

"I was surprised at one of the people you cited as one of your role models now, in post-public official life, is Al Gore," says Gupta.

"It's fascinating to me. He had a passion -- it was the environmental issues. I don't agree with everything that Al stands for," Frist says, "but taking an issue that is important, that does affect health in many ways, and elevating it to the global arena-- it's some thing that I really admire."

"I'm pretty confident we can get it done if we get out and activate the real greatness of America, that spirit of America, that each individual actually has in their heart," he says.

Frist has not ruled out an eventual return to politics, but for now, he believes that he can change the world, by helping to save the lives of those children.