Yesterday, the Obama administration released its budget request for fiscal year 2012. The Administration is proposing a 2% increase towards the Global Health Initiative (GHI), raising their U.S. investment to $9.8 billion. However, despite these increases, John Cohen of ScienceMag posts about the injurious nature of the proposed cuts by the House of Representatives.
“The continuing resolution reductions introduced by the chair of the appropriations committee, Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY), would cut $783.5 million from the main component of GHI, the Global Health and Child Survival effort, which supports treatment and prevention programs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), family planning, and nutrition efforts. The continuing resolution would take away another $300 million in contributions to the Global Fund.”
Deep cuts in funding will have a pernicious impact on NTD research and resource mobilization. The FY2010 budget appropriated only $65 million for NTDs. While Obama’s proposed FY11 budget promised to raise that amount to $155 million, the proposed FY12 budget would drop that amount to $100 million. Peter Hotez , President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, specializes in vaccine development for NTDs. Dr.Hotez expresses that “[NTD control is] such a good buy for public health,” emphasizing that increasing GHI funds would further the United State’s efforts to expand NTD control and elimination programs past the dozen countries the U.S now helps.
The proposed House cuts will be extremely harmful to the well-being of global health. Millions of people would die from preventable diseases due to lack of treatment and access to drugs. According to Helene Gayle, head of CARE USA, “such drastic cuts in GHI funding will contribute to pushing more people around the world in poverty this year, with Africa expected to be the hardest hit.”