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Big boost for global health called for in IOM report
Date:5/20/2009

WASHINGTON -- To fulfill America's humanitarian obligations as a member of the international community and to invest in the nation's long-term health, economic interests, and national security, the United States should reaffirm and increase its commitment to improving the health of developing nations, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

The United States should increase its funding for overseas disease prevention and treatment to $15 billion per year by 2012 to achieve this goal, said the committee that wrote the report. In addition, scale-up of existing preventive and therapeutic interventions and a boost in research on health problems that are endemic to low- and middle-income countries will be required. The U.S. government -- along with other nations, academia, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private foundations, and other partners -- should lead efforts to build the health care work forces and facilities in resource-limited countries; many have critical deficits that hamper delivery of care even when it is available. And public and private donors need to engage individuals and organizations in these nations as respected partners to ensure accountability and sustainability of aid initiatives, the report adds.

The committee supports President Obama's recent announcement of plans to make health a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, a recommendation the committee made in its interim report released in December. The president should underscore this commitment by creating a White House Interagency Committee on Global Health headed by a senior White House official to plan, prioritize, and coordinate budgeting for the nation's global health programs and activities, the new report says.

"It is crucial for the reputation of the United States that we live up to our humanitarian responsibilities and assist low-income countries in safeguarding the health of their poorest citizens despite current pressures on our econom
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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