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U.S. Global Health Investments Must Continue

“A decade ago, as I was beginning my time as Senate majority leader, bipartisan consensus in Washington helped launch a new era of progress in global health just when it was sorely needed,” former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) writes in a Roll Call opinion piece. “U.S. leadership at the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria], and bilateral health programs such as PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative, signaled a renewed commitment to a core facet of our country’s greatness: compassion for those most in need,” Frist writes, adding, “Understanding that improving global health is good for national security, economically prudent and — most importantly — the right thing to do, the U.S. taxpayers made an unprecedented investment in the world’s future.” He states, “That investment is paying off,” and goes on to highlight some of these programs’ successes.

“Now is no time to shy away from our health investments,” Frist continues, adding, “The U.S. investment — less than one percent of our federal budget — saves and transforms hundreds of thousands of lives every year. It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment.” “U.S. leadership has helped deliver a major blow to these three diseases,” and “[w]e must finish this fight,” he states. “[W]hile sweeping agreement on Capitol Hill may be rare, the same bipartisan, compassionate commitment to global health remains strong,” Frist says, concluding, “Determined leadership today will help secure a stronger America and a brighter, healthier future for millions in the years to come. We have a long way to go, but together we can finally put AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria where they belong — in the history books” (3/7).