Stronger Commitment Needed for Global Health Funding, Including Global AIDS Efforts

PHR's senior global health policy adviser, Eric Friedman had a powerful letter in?yesterday's New York Times about President?Obama's FY10 budget announcement last week:

President?Obama plans to backtrack from a campaign pledge on significantly increased?global AIDS financing. Planned increases for other areas in global health,?while welcome, fall far short of the investments required to achieve the United?Nations Millennium Development Goals despite the president's express commitment?to them.

The greater investment in?global health must scale up funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS?Relief (PEPFAR) to meet the levels authorized by Congress last year in the?PEPFAR reauthorization. Congress?authorized $48 billion for PEPFAR over?five years with the goals of treating at least 3 million people with HIV,?preventing 12 million new infections, caring for 12 million people, including 5?million orphans and vulnerable children, and training and retaining at least?140,000 new health workers.Health Action AIDS Advisor?Dr. Wendy Johnson also responded, with a letter to the Seattle Times.

During the two years I?spent working in Mozambique,?I saw the deep gratitude of Africans across the continent toward the people of?the U.S.?for their commitment and solidarity. The repercussions of this broken promise?could reverberate for years, potentially wiping out many of the hard-won gains?of the past five years.

PHR was also disappointed at?the Obama administration's inaction on?syringe exchange funding with the FY10?budget release. Paola Barahona, senior global health policy advocate of PHR, spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle.

We hoped that the president would seize the first?opportunity for lifting federal restrictions on this life-saving prevention?strategy.

President Obama has?repeatedly expressed his support for lifting the ban; he pledged during the?campaign, the transition and after the Inauguration to take action on this?issue.PHR worked to secure?provisions in the PEPFAR reauthorization to address health care worker?shortages, to integrate HIV/AIDS care into women's health programs and to?support evidence-based HIV prevention programs and looks forward to working?with the?Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to implement these initiatives.

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