Embargoed for Release: Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:00 AM EDT
Contact: Kay Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org or 347-249-6375
New coalition calls for bold U.S. action and greater funding for global health priorities
Obama’s health initiative cannot succeed if funded
at levels sought by White House, say experts
Report calls for Obama’s health initiative to fulfill
current commitments, set ambitious new targets
Washington, DC, October 29, 2009 — At an event on Capitol Hill today, a new coalition of global health
organizations called on the Administration and Congress to develop and fully fund a comprehensive
global health policy, in which the U.S. government takes responsibility for its fair share of an expanded
global health agenda.
The formation of this Global Health Coalition represents the first time that such a broad alliance, has
spoken with one voice, calling on the U.S. to take an ambitious, comprehensive approach to global health policy and funding. The coalition includes organizations focused on maternal, newborn and child health, AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, sexual and reproductive health and rights, the health workforce, neglected tropical diseases, health and human rights, and comprehensive primary healthcare.
In “The Future of Global Health: Ingredients of a Bold and Effective U.S. Initiative,” a report released at
today’s event, the coalition sets out priorities and principles that should guide an effective U.S global
health policy, and warns that both current programs and future goals — and the lives of millions of
women, men, and children — are at risk unless policies are backed up by ambitious targets and significant additional funding. The report is a response to President Obama’s announcement in May 2009 of a “Global Health Initiative,” a six-year initiative addressing interrelated health crises that face the developing world. The report includes key policy recommendations to facilitate the success of the
Initiative, about which the White House has so far revealed few specifics.
“We applaud the President’s willingness to expand the U.S. commitment to global health, but it is clear to all of us that the Administration and Congress must deliver significant additional funding beyond the $63 billion over six years proposed by the President,“ said Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP. “President Obama and Congress must commit to making the necessary investment — $95 billion over six years — to ensure the success of the Global Health Initiative.”
“In Uganda, I have experienced first hand the impact that U.S. funding for global AIDS has had. Across
sub Saharan Africa, we are not only saving millions of lives by providing HIV treatment. We are also
using AIDS funding to strengthen primary health care services and rebuild a health system devastated by neglect – because these health challenges are interconnected," said Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, Founder and Director of the Joint Clinical Research Centre of Uganda. "President Obama's global initiative will only succeed in Africa if the U.S. substantially increases its investments in Africa's health priorities – and if President Obama keeps his promise to scale up the US government investment in AIDS. Whatever limited gains we have made will evaporate if successful global health programs are underfunded."
A key goal of the Global Health Initiative is to help reach internationally-agreed targets on six priority
health issues: reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; HIV; tuberculosis; malaria; health
systems and the health workforce; and neglected tropical diseases. “Without sufficient funding, health
priorities that are truly inter-dependent will have to fight with each other for scarce resources — as they
have in the past — and millions of lives that could be saved will be lost,” said Rolake Nwagwu, the
Director of Positive Action for Treatment Access, an HIV advocacy organization in Nigeria. “People with
AIDS, women facing the risk of maternal death, children with malaria, and all those who face the other
grave health challenges in our countries must no longer be made to compete for the health care that can save their lives. They all need comprehensive health services, and the United States has a crucial role to play in making that happen.”
The Global Health Coalition’s report calls on President Obama and Congress to double U.S. health aid to $15 billion per year by 2012, fulfill existing commitments, establish bold U.S. targets for improved health outcomes, and invest in programs to scale up health for all. Fully funding a global health program committed to universal access to comprehensive health care will help ensure, according to the report, that by 2014:
• More than 35 million more women and newborn babies will receive quality care before, during, and
• 25 million more children with pneumonia will receive appropriate lifesaving treatment
• 120 million more people are provided with long-lasting insecticidal nets
• Malaria is effectively eliminated in at least 8 countries
• 4.5 million people receive HIV/AIDS treatment
• 12 million new HIV cases are prevented
• At least 1 million new midwives, doctors, nurses, and other health personnel are trained and retained.
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