U.S. Should Increase Financial Contribution to Global Fund, Opinion Piece Says
The United States should increase its pledge to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria because there is a "national security risk involved to our own country if these diseases spread and strains mutate to become drug-resistant," Mary Frost, a nurse working with South Africa's Novalis Institute, writes in a Biloxi Sun Herald opinion piece. Although the Global Fund already is working in nearly 130 countries and has committed $3 billion to efforts combating the three diseases, President Bush in his fiscal year 2006 budget proposal recommended reducing the U.S. contribution to the fund "from $438 million" in FY 2005 to $300 million, Frost says. However, the fund needs at least $800 million from the United States to cover existing grants and "ensure that no program that already exists goes underfunded, jeopardizing the health of those already in treatment," Frost writes. Therefore, all U.S. senators should sign a letter written by Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, urging Congress to earmark $3.7 billion for international HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria initiatives, including $800 million for the Global Fund, Frost says, adding that the Global Fund "is our best chance to fight these three diseases head-on" (Frost, Biloxi Sun Herald, 5/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.