News / Africa

Report: US Essential for Global Health

A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman, who arrived at the hospital with symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), receives treatment at the Mildmay Uganda clinic, which receives funding from the US government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD
A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman, who arrived at the hospital with symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), receives treatment at the Mildmay Uganda clinic, which receives funding from the US government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on US global health spending

Joe DeCapua
A new report says while big budget battles in Washington may be over for now, adequate funding to fight HIV, TB, malaria and other diseases may still be at risk. The Global Health Technologies Coalition has released its annual report, which focuses on U.S. leadership in research and development.
 
Coalition Director Kaitlin Christenson praises the improved atmosphere between Democrats and Republicans. She called the ceasefire in budget debates on Capitol Hill “good news.”
 
“We’re pleased to see that for the first time in several years Congress is able to move forward with a budget that went through the relatively normal process. And we’re pleased to see that in many areas numbers for global health specifically were held strong,” she said.
 
The federal budget had gone though – what’s called – sequestration.  It required mandatory across-the-board cuts for all agencies if Congress failed to make its own spending cuts. In recent years, the legislative body could not reach agreement, so all agencies took a big hit in spending.
 
Christenson said while the climate has improved, there are no guarantees of agreement for the next fiscal year beginning in October.
 
“Going into negotiations for FY-15 we do have some concerns and are hoping that Congress will – as it takes the president’s budget request – bring numbers back up for agencies like the NIH [National Institutes of Health], like global health programs at the State Department and at USAID.”
 
She said the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Agency for International Development play a critical role in researching and developing health-related products, simply known as R&D.
 
With USAID and the State Department, in particular, we saw that funding levels were for the most part decreased across all conditions and disease areas based on the levels that were approved by Congress for the FY-14 budget agreement.
 
It’s a similar situation for the National Institutes of Health.
 
Christenson said, “With the NIH, the president’s request for FY-15 was still lower than the request that came in in 2014. It’s a slight increase over what we saw passed by Congress, but the budget request coming from the administration has actually decreased. There’s critical research happening at the NIH that helps us understand how these diseases take place – and helps propel the development of new products that are desperately needed.”
 
Before sequestration began in March of last year, many research projects were underway. Many millions of dollars had already been spent on them. When the cuts took hold, the projects simply shut down.
 
“The challenge with research is that when we stop a clinical trial, we can’t just pick it back up. There’s a significant amount of investment made in staff – in building community support – and building capacity of local researchers. So, once a trial shuts down it’s very difficult and expensive to start it back up,” she said.
 
The Global Health Technologies Coalition report is called Innovation for a changing world: The role of U.S. leadership in global health R&D. Christenson says the coalition takes a long-term view on global health investment.
 
“We’ve done some analysis that shows, for example, that the investment that was made in developing a recently introduced meningitis vaccine in Africa will pay off over the long-term. We estimate that hundreds of millions of dollars will be saved that would have been otherwise spent in treating individuals who succumb to meningitis,” she said.
 
She described such investment as critical.
 
“We’ve seen the tremendous impact that comes from research to create life-saving health tools. But we know that the tools we have today are not sufficient and that there is no guarantee they will meet the health needs of tomorrow.”
 
Last year, a bill was introduced to Congress called the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act.  Christenson said it would codify support for USAID in research and development and cooperation between U.S. agencies involved in the work.
 
The coalition also called for bigger budgets for the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid