Republican Ander Crenshaw of Florida’s 4th Congressional District, and Democrat Adam Smith of Washington’s 9th Congressional District make the case for foreign aid in an OpEd for Politico. The co-chairs for the Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance say that foreign aid is essential and cost-effective. They write:
Foreign assistance programs are important for spurring our economy, too. More than half of our exports go to the developing world now and that number is growing. The key to expanding our economy and creating jobs here at home lies beyond our shores, and reaching the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside the U.S. requires investment in these rapidly growing markets.
Careful attention must be paid to how we spend every taxpayer dollar. As the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, our goal is to help ensure the global investments we make bring the best return possible to America.
Significant strides have been made over the past decade to make these programs more effective, and a new “Report on Reports” released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition details areas of consensus on how we can do even better.
Funding by the United States for family planning has a giant positive impact. With the White House releasing its budget request for fiscal year 2014 and the budget debates heating up, now seems like a good time to look at what investments in reproductive health enables.
A total of $610 million was allocated to family planning and reproductive health services in the 2012 budget according to the Guttmacher Institute:
- 31.6 million women and couples receive contraceptive services and supplies;
- 9.4 million unintended pregnancies, including 4.1 million unplanned births, are averted;
- 4 million induced abortions are averted (3 million of them unsafe);
- 22,000 maternal deaths are averted;
- 2.8 million fewer healthy years of life (DALYs) are lost among women; and
- 96,000 fewer children lose their mothers.
Increasing spending will expand access and services and cuts will lead to declines. It is as simple as that. A mere $10 million in the budget for family planning means
- 520,000 fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies;
- 150,000 more unintended pregnancies, including 70,000 more unplanned births, would occur;
- 70,000 more abortions would take place (of which 50,000 would be unsafe);
- 400 more maternal deaths would occur;
- 50,000 more DALYs would be lost; and
- 2,000 more children would lose their mothers.
Every little bit counts!
Research and development into medical breakthroughs are aided through federally funded programs like the National Institutes for Health. In fact, the NIH helped to fund the research led by Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center on a baby that was cured of HIV through ARV treatment immediately following birth. Thanks to the across the board cuts enacted through sequestration, such research will be directly impacted.
An article from CNN shows how the cuts could have impacted this research.
Chris Collins, vice president of public policy for amfAR, said there was a “cruel irony” to the timing of the HIV cure discovery and sequestration.
“As we’ve heard this exciting news about cure research, the entire AIDS research field is experiencing a significant cutback,” said Collins. “If we were in the business of ending AIDS, this would be the time to invest, not pull our resources out.”
Today is the deadline after which automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to US government agencies known as sequestration take effect. Unless there is a last minute deal between the leadership in the US Congress and President Obama, some automatic US Government funding cuts will come into force today.
Sequestration would reduce total funding by $85 billion until September 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year (FY13). By percentage, this would affect non-defense discretionary funding by about 5%, affecting the International Affairs or “Function 150” account which funds USAID, CDC and other key US agencies. Defense discretionary funding would be reduced by about 8%.
Though difficult to estimate in an uncertain funding environment, these sequestration cuts could have drastic and lasting effects on global health efforts. In the House Appropriations Committee Democrats’ “Report on Sequestration”, estimated global health cuts could:
By Greg Paton. This originally appears on the Arogya World blog.
Prior to last year’s United Nations Summit on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in September 2011, a representative from one government aid agency stated that “Ministers don’t think they have the legitimacy to engage on NCDs. The public perception is that they’re seen as diseases of affluence.”
Such attitudes are still common among funders and are a key battleground for those working on diabetes, cancer and other NCDs. To counter this, advocates have pushed governments to acknowledge that NCDs are inextricably linked to poverty and affect the poorest of the poor – an impressive effort that shifted the mindset of many governments. Such narratives have immense power to shape global priorities, as the AIDS movement has shown.
While the primary aim of this effort should be holding governments accountable for addressing the health needs of their own people, the dominant focus has been on western aid as the solution to low-income countries (LIC) challenges in addressing NCDs. This is where the logic gets problematic.
Millions of Americans will wait in lines for hours to cast their ballots to determine the next president, congressional representatives and local officials. Foreign aid has been one of the lesser mentioned issues in the recent campaigns, but that does not mean that we do not have information regarding the stance for the presidential candidates and their parties.
Devex summarized the policy stances of the Republicans and Democrats on global health writing in September:
Both political party platforms call attention to the accomplishments of PEPFAR, which marks its 10th anniversary next year. The 2012 Republican platform asserts that PEPFAR is “one of the most successful global health programs in history” and suggests that the initiative will be the cornerstone of U.S. foreign aid to Africa in a Romney administration. The Democratic platform states that Obama remains committed to robust funding for PEPFAR, which like the MCC was first initiated by the Bush administration.
PSI is joining other organizations, advocates and individuals in a collective effort to tell the Obama administration that it should continue its support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The current budget stands at $1.65 billion and we are requesting Secretary of State Clinton to consider increasing it to $2 billion for Fiscal Year 2014.
The Global Fund is an important body in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. At the very least, continuing support at the same level will help to ensure that the three will become a problem of the past.
You can join us in support by using the same letter or writing your own to your local member of congress, the President or Secretary Clinton.
Read the letter we have signed that outlines the importance of the Global Fund and why we support its work
Dear Madame Secretary,
As the primary U.S. advocates for and, in some cases, the U.S.-based, in-country implementers of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), we would like to thank you for your support of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 request of $1.65 billion for the organization, particularly given the difficult economic and budget environment. With the help of this and earlier U.S. support, the Global Fund is achieving remarkable results: allowing 3.6 million people living with HIV and AIDS to receive anti-retroviral therapy; 9.3 million people to be treated for tuberculosis; 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to have treatment so that their babies are born HIV-free; and allowing for the distribution of 270 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria. Altogether, the Global Fund is saving and improving 100,000 lives around the world each month.
This is a copy of a letter to members of congress signed by PSI and dozens of other NGOs, advocacy groups and others concerned that efforts to reduce the US deficit might negatively affect America’s global leadership role.
As organizations working to end poverty and respond to emergencies around the world, we write to strongly urge you to support the Senate’s fiscal year 2013 overall funding level for the International Affairs Budget in order to protect its poverty-focused accounts throughout all upcoming budget negotiations, including negotiations to avert or delay the sequester.
The budget decisions facing you in the months ahead are daunting, and are of tremendous importance for millions of lives around the world and the future of United States’ security and economic prosperity. There is no doubt that our nation’s fiscal house must be put in order, but it must be done thoughtfully and comprehensively, while ensuring a bright and secure future for the U.S.
This year has witnessed historic events—from the Syrian uprising, to democratic elections in Egypt, to food crises of major proportions in both the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. These events demonstrate in stark terms the dynamic nature of the world around us and the need for strong and effective diplomatic and development tools. The Senate’s funding levels for the International Affairs Budget and its poverty-focused accounts, forged under the bipartisan leadership of Senators Patrick Leahy and Lindsey Graham, recognize current fiscal limitations while enabling continued investments that save lives, increase our national security, and spur economic development both at home and around the world.