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NewsHour Features Two Health Experts On President Obama’s Global Health Initiative

On the NewsHour Insider Forum, Ray Suarez interviews global health experts Michele Moloney-Kitts, assistant U.S. global AIDS coordinator, and Christine Lubinski, head of the Center for Global Health Policy and Advocacy about President Obama’s $63 billion global health initiative.

The online interview, which features questions by NewsHour viewers, looked at how the Obama Administration’s approach to global health differs from the approach of President Bush, among a range of global health topics. Compared to President Bush, who “was very focused on three diseases” – “AIDS, TB and malaria,” Moloney-Kitts explained Obama wants to “build on some of our great successes in PEPFAR and start to really look at a more balanced, perhaps, portfolio.”

“[U]nfortunately, the resources proposed to the president’s global health initiative don’t really match the rhetoric,” Lubinski said. “[W]e already have a critical piece of legislation that’s law that would authorize 48 billion over five years for AIDS, TB and malaria, alone. And $63 billion over six years would shortchange both that program or provide little additional funding for priorities like family planning and maternal and child health. And the president’s FY10 budget, in fact, did not provide significant increased resources for any of these critical global health initiatives.”

Moloney-Kitts said the Obama administration “recognize[s] that it is a tight budget year. But even in this environment we’ve been seeing significant increases.” Additionally, Moloney-Kitts said “we believe that we can also do a better job with more efficient programs … for example, we’re working hard on in the PEPFAR program is to better coordinate with the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] so that we can make sure that our investments to multilateral organizations like the Global Fund are also very effectively coordinated with PEPFAR resources. And also, we need to talk at some point about how countries are taking ownership of their programs and also working to strengthen their oversight management and fiscal contribution.”

The program also addressed the U.S. investments in the areas of HIV/AIDS, TB, nutrition and workforce training worldwide (Suarez, NewsHour, 6/23).