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Obama’s FY 2011 Budget Gives Global Health Funding Boost

President Barack Obama’s FY 2011 budget request for global health totals $9.6 billion and includes funding for global health activities within the State Department, USAID and HHS, the Wall Street Journal reports. “That compares with $8.8 billion enacted for fiscal 2010,” according to the newspaper (McKay, 2/1).

“While scientists concentrating on domestic problems had worried about deep [budget] cuts, global health appears to have been sheltered by Mr. Obama’s promise to exempt international affairs and global security,” the New York Times writes.

“In her own preliminary analysis, Jennifer Kates, a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which specializes in health policy, said the amount of money devoted to programs in the president’s Global Health Initiative, which is split among several agencies, appeared to have risen about 8 percent,” according to the New York Times. “The key areas that were getting increases, Ms. Kates said, were the health of mothers and children, malaria, family planning and neglected tropical diseases. Financing for AIDS appears to be rising but not nearly as rapidly as it did during the Bush administration, which created” PEPFAR, according to the newspaper (McNeil, 2/1).

Under the proposed budget, funding for PEPFAR, which includes money for HIV, tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, would increase to almost $7 billion, Bloomberg reports (2/1, Randall). “[T]he State Department and USAID would get $680 million for malaria programs, up from $585 million in 2010. Maternal and child health would get $700 million, up from $474 million, while $590 million would go to family planning, up from $525 million,” the Wall Street Journal writes. The $1 billion request for the Global Fund “is less than the amount given last year, [but] it is $100 million more than the amount requested last year, officials said,” according to the newspaper.

The budget proposal was accompanied by the release of a set of ambitious targets to be achieved by 2014, including getting 1.6 million more people into drug treatment for HIV/AIDS, cutting the prevalence of malaria by 50 percent, and reducing the number of deaths of mothers and children under 5 years old,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The article includes comments by AIDS advocates expressing concern that the funds put aside to meet the HIV/AIDS goals laid out by the administration were insufficient and details on goals for eliminating neglected tropical diseases, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child mortality in the countries receiving assistance (2/1).

The budget includes a doubling in funding – from $65 million to $155 million – to help fight neglected tropical diseases, Reuters reports. More than one billion people, or one-sixth of the world’s population, suffer from one or more neglected tropical disease, according to the WHO. The article examines how such diseases affect populations as well as economies and includes comments by Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute (Fox, 2/2).

In total, the Obama administration requested $52.8 billion for the State Department and USAID for fiscal 2011, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog writes in a piece that examines the planned distribution of funds as well as the budget request for agriculture and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (Rogin, 2/1). In a separate post, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog breaks down snippets of Monday’s budget briefing with Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew (Rogin, 2/1).

Bloomberg examines how global health will be a focus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose budget is to increase by $1 billion, or 3.2 percent (Wecshler, 2/1). The budget calls for the funds at NIH to be focused on “genomics, translational research, science to support the health care overhaul, global health and ‘reinvigorating the biomedical research community,’” CQ HealthBeat reports (Norman, 2/1).

“This budget request demonstrates the president’s commitment to funding life-saving development programs in global health, food security, climate change and global poverty,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to the Washington Times.  The article also includes comments by Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (Kralev, 2/1).

Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker features a breakdown of the 2011 Budget, including funding totals for the U.S. Global Health Initiative and other global health activities (2/1).