News

US Investment Saving Lives Around the World

U.S. funding has driven development of new vaccines and medicines.
U.S. funding has driven development of new vaccines and medicines.
Joe DeCapua

A new report says the U.S. government is the world leader when it comes to investing in global health research and development. Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has provided nearly 13 billion dollars for new vaccines, drugs and equipment to fight diseases in developing countries.

The report is called Saving Lives and Creating Impact: Why investing in global health research works. It focuses on five federal agencies between 2000 and 2010: The National Institutes of Health, USAID, the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.

“The global Health Technologies Coalition is a group of nearly 40 nonprofits that have all come together to address some of the greatest barriers facing the development of new vaccines, new drugs, new diagnostics and other products. And looking at the policy solutions that the U.S. government can apply in order to accelerate and advance the development of those critically needed new products,” said Kaitlin Christenson, director of The Global Health Technologies Coalition, which released the report.

The coalition is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Having an effect

Christenson said U.S. investment in global health is having a “true impact” on the developing world.

“We’ve seen that over the last decade the U.S. government has funded nearly half of the total global investment in research. And that that investment is translated to new products that are saving lives around the world,” she said.

One example is a new meningitis vaccine. The report estimates the MenAfriVac vaccine will prevent nearly 440,000 cases of meningitis over the next 10 years. There’s also a new test to diagnose tuberculosis. The Xpert MTB/RIF test could triple the number of people diagnosed with drug resistant TB.

Competing interests

Christenson acknowledged the report’s being released at a time when President Obama and congress are debating where to spend and where to cut.

“In this era where we really are under a constrained economic environment everything is at risk. No, we certainly never want to pit one important program against another. What we would hope is that policymakers see the true impact of the investment,” he said.

However, Christenson said the coalition is not just worried about budget cuts. It warns against flatlined funding where no increase in funding is approved.

“There are lots of tools that are stuck in research phases because we don’t have sufficient funding. For one example, what are called neglected tropical diseases, the U.S. investment is typically at the very early stages of research, but not at the later stages where we’re actually taking that early science and translating it into a product that works,” she said.

The report says investing in global health also has domestic benefits. It says for every dollar the government spends on global health research and development, 64 cents goes directly to U.S.-based researchers.

Christenson said global health is a bipartisan issue--something both democrats and Republicans can agree to fund.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs