federal budget

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US underfunding crucial global health research and development, warns group | 

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Steve Snodgrass

As global health funding remains largely stagnant, more groups are trying to get a bigger piece of the US budgetary pie. For their part, research and development supporters wants a bigger slice, or at least for theirs to stay the same size.

A report by the Global Health Technologies Coalition warns that the political wrangling over federal budgets in Washington DC are putting crucial global health research and development at risk.

The coalition, made up of some 30+ NGOs, says funding for research and development has eroded over the past few years. Making proper investments means not only that new lifesaving developments in areas like TB, AIDS and maternal health can be made, it also represents a significant boost to the US.

“The investment we have made in research to date has contributed to major public health successes, but there is no guarantee that the gains we have made today will work tomorrow,” said Kaitlin Christenson, MPH, director of the GHTC, to Humanosphere.

Christenson argues that investing in research and development is one that will benefit people around the world, as well as Americans. It taps into the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans. The report, Innovation for a changing world: The role of US leadership in global health R&D, says that existing investments have helped to create 7 million jobs and contributes $69 billion to the US GDP each year.

“The investment in innovation resonates with American character, that helps support domestic improvements, economic growth and our diplomatic goals,” she said.

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News flash: Many Americans want more money spent on foreign aid, global health | 

Hey President Obama and members of Congress, read this report!

I’ve noted this before but it’s worth re-emphasizing the encouraging (and maybe surprising) findings from a public opinion survey on foreign aid and global health done recently by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The news media (sigh) largely ignored this but it deserves more attention. Here’s a good summary by Tom Murphy at the Huffington Post and another story (well, reproduced press release actually) by the Sacramento Bee.

In case you don’t want to read the report (it’s pretty good, trust me) due to your own particular form of attention-deficit disorder, here are three graphic illustrations of the findings

First, most Americans don’t know how little we spend on foreign aid.

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Op-ed: Don’t balance budget on back of the global poor | 

Interaction

Sam Worthington

You know that phrase about being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

As the US and British governments look for places to make budget cuts, many are concerned that the small amount (about 1 percent of the US federal budget) devoted to providing assistance to the needy and fighting disease in poor countries will be cut even further.

Sam Worthington of Interaction writes in the Guardian why this is a bad idea. He notes that the new conservative government in the UK appears to understand why foreign aid is in their national interest. But Worthington is concerned it remains a tough political sell among some in the U.S. He writes:

Many of the budget cuts proposed by the House would have a dramatic effect on development work abroad and could make it hard to respond to crises such as the earthquake that occurred in Haiti in January last year…. The harsh arithmetic here is that when humanitarian accounts are slashed, people die, whether in Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo.