In January, we celebrated the largest increase in U.S. funding for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since 2010. Yet the party was cut short by the disappointing news that President Obama’s FY15 budget request recommended cutting NTD funding by more than 13%, down to just $86.5 million. Considering the great strides the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) NTD Program has made in improving health around the world, cutting funding now would be a huge mistake.
Investing in NTDs is a smart, cost-effective way to boost the health and economic prosperity of millions of people worldwide. Global health is a fraction of one percent of the federal $1.012 trillion budget – and the budget for NTDs is even smaller. But this tiny amount has a huge impact.
InterAction, an alliance of nonprofits, emphasized this point in their annual Choose to Invest report – a publication which provides members of Congress with funding recommendations for U.S. foreign assistance programs based on experience from the field. Under the leadership of the Global Network and others in the NTD community, InterAction recommended that the U.S. program for NTDs be funded at $125 million in FY15.
An increase in funding for NTDs means effective programs, like this one in Sierra Leone, will continue to run. Last year, the USAID NTD Program, together with partners, assisted Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health in providing almost half a million people in the country, including Sahr Gando, with life-saving medicines. After receiving treatment, Sahr Gando was able to go back to work and support his family – a task which may have been impossible if treatment never arrived.
Together, we can ensure NTD programs like the one in Sierra Leone are protected – or even improved.
END7 recently launched a campaign to protect NTD funding. Click here to send a letter to Congresswomen Granger and Lowey—longtime advocates of NTDs and leaders of the House appropriations subcommittee that focuses on global health and foreign assistance funding―to thank them for their continued support for NTD programs and urge them to maintain or even increase funding for NTDs in FY15.
Thanks for taking a stand with us.