IOM says US Should Commit $15 billion to Global Health by 2012

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In its much-anticipated report on America’s role in addressing global health, the Institute of Medicine called on President Obama to appoint a sort of global health czar and urged both the administration and Congress to invest $15 billion in global health by 2012.

“Especially during this time when the global economy is under pressure, attention to global health is essential,” the authors write in “The U.S. Commitment to Global Health—Recommendations for the Public and Private Sectors.”

Any pull back would jeopardize the investments and progress made to date and would make a terrible problem even worse, at a time when the needs of the poor are greater. Plus, it’s the right thing to do and would help “right the ship” in terms of America’s image abroad and our relations with the world.

Now, here’s a little more on the money front: happily, the IOM report calls for full funding of PEPFAR—$7.8 billion per year for global AIDS, $1 billion per year for malaria, and $800 million for tuberculosis. Of course, the administration’s budget request did not reach those levels—the White House called for $6 billion in FY 2010 for global AIDS and a meager $173 million for TB. So perhaps the IOM report will help shape views in Congress as the appropriations process moves forward.

The IOM document—co-authored by Thomas Pickering and Harold Varmus—also makes the case for a “more diverse portfolio” in global health spending, as Varmus put it at today’s briefing. The US should use $3.4 billion a year for health system strengthening, maternal and child health, family planning, and neglected diseases of poverty, “all of which have been severely under-resourced” over the past decade, the report says.

This will likely bolster the Administration’s argument for more spending on health system strengthening and less on disease-specific programs like PEPFAR, despite the enormous success of the latter in battling global AIDS while also training health workers and building new lab capacity.

As far as the global health czar, the IOM folks called for a new Interagency Committee on Global Health, set up within the White House to plan and prioritize global health programs. Obama should designate a top official to chair that committee, someone who could sit in on a gamut of high level meetings to ensure that the role of global health is considered in everything from trade to national security.

The full IOM report is available online, at http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3783/51303/67183.aspx

You can also tune in to a discussion of the IOM report on Thursday, hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here’s the info:


LIVE Webcast Tomorrow U.S. Global Health Policy: In Focus
IOM Final Report on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health
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The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health released its final report today which concludes that the U.S. government and U.S.-based foundations, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and commercial entities have an opportunity to improve global health and provides specific recommendations for how these groups should proceed. To follow-up on this release, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a live, interactive webcast tomorrow, Thursday, May 21 at 12 p.m. ET from its Washington, DC studio, to discuss what the report results will likely mean for the U.S. government’s response to global health.

Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Jen Kates, will moderate the discussion and the panelists will take questions from viewers, which can be submitted ahead of time or during the live program to infocus@kff.org.

WHO: Panelists include:

  • Maria Freire, president, The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, and member, IOM committee on U.S. Commitment to Global Health
  • Jeffrey Koplan, vice president, Global Health and director, Global Health Institute, Emory University, and member, IOM committee on U.S. Commitment to Global Health
  • Ruth Levine, vice president and senior fellow, Center for Global Development, and member, IOM committee on U.S. Commitment to Global Health

WHEN: Thursday, May 21 at 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: Watch the live studio webcast on kff.org:
http://globalhealth.kff.org/Multimedia/2009/May/21/gh052109video.aspx

HOW: Submit questions during the live webcast by emailing infocus@kff.org.

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