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For immediate release - Feb 1, 2010

2011 Budget Underfunds, Jeopardizes Global Health Initiative
Obama short-changes proven effective health aid programs designed to save the lives of millions

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2010—President Obama’s proposed FY ’11 budget underfunds and jeopardizes global HIV/AIDS, women’s, maternal and child health, and tuberculosis and malaria programs, and falls far short of what the experts have identified as essential investments. The Obama Administration’s much anticipated Global Health Initiative, which was released in draft form today, is the beginning of a laudable effort and could be hobbled by insufficient resources unless Congress acts, the group said.

“We recognize that this is a difficult budget year, but by adding relatively small amounts in some areas like maternal and child health while cutting others like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, this budget fails to live up to the promise of the Administration’s Global Health Initiative,” said Ann Starrs, president of Family Care International. “The wellbeing and security of nations is based on the health and productivity of their citizens. Failing to scale up successful health programs, which are vital to the prospects of economic and social improvement for local communities, undermines human security.”

“This moment of economic insecurity for millions in developing nations is exactly the wrong time to pull back from this Administration’s pledges to build programs which could save millions of lives that now hang in the balance,” said Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP. “These programs lie at the heart of effective diplomacy. The Administration and Congress can’t afford not to fully fund maternal health, AIDS, malaria, health systems strengthening, tuberculosis and other health priorities.”

The President’s 2011 budget request includes both increases and decreases in the six global health initiative priority areas including approximately (from existing information):

o A $50 million cut to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria
o A two percent ($141 million) announced increase for global AIDS treatment care and support compared with a promised increase of $2 billion in the Lantos-Hyde act.
o $151 million increase for maternal and child health and a seemingly small increase to family planning programs at a moment when, after years of neglect, this still totals less than half of what would be needed from the U.S. to address the full problem.
o $5 million more for TB programs—a drop in the bucket against one of the world’s leading killers.
o No new funding to substantially increase the number of doctors, nurses, and midwives as called for by advocates and required as a basis for stronger health systems.
This budget reflects the third year of a six-year initiative and advocates noted that the Obama administration is not even on track to meet their own promised funding increases, unless the major financing all comes in the years of a second Obama term. Back-loading funding, they noted, would result in needless lives lost.

Fully funding the GHI would ensure:

o Another 35 million births take place in facilities that provide quality care, and 10 million more couples could access modern family planning.

o AIDS treatment could be rolled out to 6 million more people, while 12 million new infections are prevented.

o Full-course basic tuberculosis treatment could be scaled up, saving as many as 21 million additional lives.

o A 75 percent decrease in the Malaria burden 15 countries.

o One million new midwives, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals could be trained in all areas, including tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, child health, etc.

“The GHI has some notable strengths on paper,” said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). “It recognizes the links between HIV/AIDS and reproductive, maternal and child health, and stresses a human-rights based policy approach—all critical components to effectively addressing global health issues. However, without funding levels that reflect the global need and a U.S. fair share, the potential effectiveness of the initiative is compromised. We have the opportunity to make significant progress towards beating HIV/AIDS, and creating some much-needed diplomatic capital. We can’t squander that.”

About the Global Health Initiative Working Group

In October 2009, 25 leading global health organizations released The Future of Global Health, which called for robust increases to each of the six key priorities in the Global Health Initiative. These increases would enable the Obama Administration to come closer to achieving its promises of a new approach to the health needs of impoverished countries, rather than simply shifting funding from one category of spending to another.



Melanie Boyer,, 202.393.5930

Matthew Kavanagh,, 202.486.2488 is a project of: