After three years of indecisive budget wars, Congress has successfully passed a national budget for 2014. The one trillion-dollar-deal sailed through the House (359-67) and Senate (72-26) on January 15 and 16, and was quickly signed by President Obama the next day, raising hopes that compromise will replace gridlock in Washington in 2014.
What you may not know is that NTDs won big in the budget deal. Funding for USAID’s NTD Program was ramped up from $85.5 million ($89 million less 5 percent for sequestration) to $100 million, representing the greatest increase in U.S. NTD funding since FY 2010. Perhaps even more significant, funding for USAID’s NTD program increased despite a $4.3 billion cut to overall funding for U.S. foreign programs — demonstrating lawmakers’ on-going belief in the value and impact of NTD and global health programs. In fact, Chairman Hal Rogers of the House Appropriations Committee commented about the budget bill:
“In addition, the bill prioritizes global health, humanitarian, and democracy promotion programs—while reducing funding in other lower priority areas—to advance American interests around the globe and to fulfill the nation’s moral obligation to those in dire need.”
To date, USAID’s NTD Program has distributed more than 800 million treatments to nearly 250 million people across 25 countries, leveraging more than $6.7 billion worth of donated drugs, which represents one of the most successful public/private partnerships between government, non-profit and pharmaceutical partners. This new injection of funds will enable USAID to continue treatments in established program areas, monitor and evaluate national progress, reach new endemic populations and maximize drug donations that are currently available yet unable to be used. Most importantly, this puts the global community one step closer towards reaching the London Declaration’s control and elimination goals.
So throw a party, grab some cake, and celebrate this great win for NTDs.