By Jennie Aylward, Consultant at Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon . . .
As Congress prepares to consider how much funding to apply to various functions of the federal budget, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon joined other global health advocates to urge a minimum level of $60 billion for the “Function 150” account, which comprises non-military spending on international affairs. PRRR and 41 other organizations conveyed our message via a letter sent on Mar. 21, 2017 to members of Congress who lead the Budget Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives.
For a current investment of less than 1% of the total federal budget, international affairs spending for diplomatic, security, development and humanitarian programs—including global health programs—provides dramatic benefits. The letter highlighted achievements in recent years against infectious diseases.
The letter referenced the establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by then-President George W. Bush, noting that the program set the course for the United States to be a leader in addressing global health challenges. After he left office, President Bush founded Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon with his wife Laura, with PEPFAR as a founding partner.
Below is the full text of the letter:
Dear Chairman Enzi, Ranking Member Sanders, Chairman Black, and Ranking Member Yarmuth,
The undersigned members of the Global AIDS Policy Partnership, the Tuberculosis Roundtable and the Malaria Roundtable write to urge you to protect funding for the Function 150 account at no less than $60 billion, thereby enabling the U.S. to continue advancing its diplomatic, security, development and humanitarian goals. Our three coalitions total more than 100 advocacy and implementing organizations committed to expanding and improving global HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programming.
Global health programs funded through the Function 150 account have strong bipartisan support, and there is consensus that U.S. investments in global health represent an unquestionable success story in U.S. foreign assistance efforts. Since 2003, when President George W. Bush established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. has been a leader in improving the health and saving the lives of millions of people living with or affected by HIV around the world. In 2005, President Bush expanded U.S. global health efforts when he announced the creation of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Together PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, PMI, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Tuberculosis (TB) programs are successful in stopping the spread of disease, saving lives and ensuring healthy outcomes, and preventing avoidable child and maternal deaths. The Function 150 account investments referenced below represent significantly less than 1% of the annual federal budget but generate outcomes disproportionate to this modest investment through strategic investment, global partnerships, and the efficient and targeted use of resources.
- HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR continues to work towards achieving ambitious HIV prevention, care, and treatment goals while strengthening health systems. At the end of 2017, PEPFAR expects to have supported a total of 13 million adults and children on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. Since 2003, PEPFAR has prevented nearly 2 million babies from being born with HIV.
- Malaria. Since its launch in 2005, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has contributed to a 69% decline in death rates among children by bringing to scale a combination of proven malaria prevention and treatment interventions, alongside those global partners. PMI’s efforts have also helped the global community eliminate malaria in 17 countries, six of which have been certified as malaria free by WHO, since 2000.
- The USAID program efforts focus on rapid diagnosis and treatment of TB, which accounts for the greatest number of infectious disease deaths globally, to both cure individuals and prevent transmission to others. USAID also focuses on the epidemic of multi-drug resistant TB and the development and deployment of new drugs and diagnostics. TB incidence, in the countries that receive this bilateral TB funding, has fallen by nearly one-fifth since 2000
- Multilateral Assistance for HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The Function 150 account also supports investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The Global Fund supports treatment for 10 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 16.6 million tuberculosis patients; and has distributed 713 million insecticide treated nets for the prevention of malaria.
We are a nation of people that believe in public health and supporting those in need. Global Health funded programs also contribute to the well-being of all Americans through our diplomacy as a nation and as Senator Graham has pointed out, “investing over there, even though we have needs here, makes us safer.”
If you need additional information, or if you would like to meet with members of the Global AIDS Policy Partnership, the Tuberculosis Roundtable and the Malaria Roundtable to discuss these global health priorities and the importance of the 150 account, please contact Brandon Ball (Malaria) (email@example.com), David Bryden (TB) (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kevin Fisher (HIV) (email@example.com). Once again, we appreciate your leadership and look forward to working with you in the fight against the HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
American Thoracic Society
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Council for Global Equality
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Friends of the Global Fight
Global Health Council
Global Network of Black People Working in HIV
HIV Medicine Association
IMA World Health
Infectious Diseases Society of America
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
International HIV/AIDS Alliance
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
International Women’s Health Coalition
John Snow Inc.
Malaria No More
Management Sciences for Health.
Metropolitan Community Churches Global Justice Institute
MSMGF (the Global Forum on MSM & HIV)
National Alliance Of State & Territorial AIDS Directors
National TB Controllers Association
Nothing But Nets
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Services International
Treatment Action Group
Union for Reform Judaism