By Karen Sommer Shalett, PSI Where government and multilateral donors choose to invest foreign aid has the power to affect tremendous change across the developing world. Among European donors, these have signaled their commitment to girls and women by including them at the forefront of their agendas, providing a path forward for 2016 and beyond.Read More ›
By Congressmen Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) Across the globe, tens of millions of children’s lives have been saved with the delivery of medicines that cost less than a dollar per dose – thanks in large part to U.S. foreign aid. In rural Western Province, Kenya, Jane Wamalwa, a community health worker, regularlyRead More ›
How you fund things, and how adequately you fund them, is a major determinant of success, says Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank. Rolf Rosenkranz, editor at Devex, spoke with Glassman about financing global health. RR: Our research suggests thatRead More ›
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:
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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.
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:Read More ›
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:
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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.
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.
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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.
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine looked at the effectiveness of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 9 African countries between 2004 and 2008. According to their study, PEPFAR saved the lives of 740,000 people in that period. That translates to a decline in deaths by a rate of 16% to 20% in the four years.
From US News Health:
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“We were surprised and impressed to find these mortality reductions,” study author Dr. Eran Bendavid, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford, said in a university news release.
“While many assume that foreign aid works, most evaluations of aid suggest it does not work or even causes harm,” Bendavid said. “Despite all the challenges to making aid work and to implementing HIV treatment in Africa, the benefits of the [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] were large and measurable across many African countries.”
The program was launched in 2003 while President George W. Bush was in office with a focus on AIDS treatment and prevention in 15 countries. It was reauthorized by Congress in 2008 and now serves 31 countries.
To assess the impact of the program, Bendavid and colleagues analyzed health and survival data from more than 1.5 million adults in 27 African countries, including nine countries where the program has focused its efforts.
Earlier in the week, President Obama participated in a public Google+ Hangout as a follow up to his State of the Union Speech. Americans were given the ability to submit questions to the president via YouTube videos. During the Google+ Hangout, President Obama was asked why the United States should provide foreign aid when Americans are homeless and living in poverty. His answer, in short, was that foreign aid accounts for a very small percentage of our national budget and it serves the nation well for national security reasons.
Watch the video to see Obama’s complete answer.Read More ›
Polls show that the American public believes that 25 percent of the U.S. federal budget is spent on foreign aid. In reality, this figure is less than 1 percent. Given the tremendous achievements, progress, and most importantly, the lives our country has saved through strategic financial investments in global health programs, now – more than ever – it is critical that we continue to invest in these effective and innovative interventions.
In October, PSI Global Ambassador Mandy Moore highlighted the immense power of foreign aid. She met with members of both chambers and later participated in a congressional briefing panel hosted by PSI, FHI 360 and PATH to emphasize the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) achievements over the past 50 years. Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, assistant administrator of the Global Health Bureau at USAID, joined the panel to share the agency’s commitment to global health and ongoing impact around the world.
In 2011 alone, the U.S. provided care and support to nearly 13 million people, including more than 4.1 million orphans and vulnerable children. Each year, this funding prevents nearly 115,000 infants from being born with HIV, saves 3 million lives through USAID’s immunization programs, and has helped bring safe drinking water sources to 1.3 billion people over the last decade.Read More ›
Earlier this month, PSI released a survey that measured Americans’ attitudes towards foreign aid. It found that most Americans believe that the United States devotes a full 25% of its budget to foreign aid. When asked how much the United States should spend on foreign aid, most respondents said the figure should be closer to 5%.Read More ›