We’re reading about a new WHO leader with a vision of health care for all, and a very different vision in the White House budget proposal

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The World Health Assembly election this week of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to be the next Director General of the World Health Organization followed the release of the Trump administration’s budget proposal by one day. That led to overlapping discussions of two starkly irreconcilable views of the role that access to health care plays in a safe, just and prosperous world. We are, and will continue to be, following the outcomes of both.

“All roads lead to universal coverage” – The first African and the first non-physician to lead the World Health Organization, incoming Director General Tedros (who campaigned for the post and is referred to in news reports by his first name) has been credited with comprehensive reforms of Ethiopia’s health system that improved disease responses and expanded access to medical care when he served his country as Minister of Health. He emphasized a vision of universal health care access during his campaign and in his first speech following his election, when he told delegates gathered at the World Health Assembly, “All roads lead to universal coverage. This will be my central priority,” adding “At present, only about a half of the world’s people have access to health care without impoverishment. This needs to improve dramatically.”

Department of State and USAID FY 2018 Budget Request – By the time Dr. Tedros was saying those words, however, the Trump budget proposing drastic cuts to public health responses at home and overseas had been released, which the State Department responds to here. Advocates of global disease-fighting efforts took some comfort from former Exxon Mobil leader Rex Tllerson’s participation in the CSIS Smart Global Health Policy Commission, and his expressed interest in international malaria and women’s equity responses  when he was named to head the State Department. But a reader of the department’s response under Sec. Tillerson’s name, to the proposal, which would gut State Department and USAID funding for disease-fighting programs and global health security, will note that it does not allude to or acknowledge health as a priority, as a factor of security and good relations, or at all.

Kaiser Family Foundation breakdown of White House FY18 budget proposal – This breakdown gives a comprehensive look at the scope of the threats to global disease fighting capacities posed by the administration’s proposal, which slashes or eliminates nearly every avenue of overseas health aid that the United States has led.

Trump’s Budget Would Affect Every Part of Government – A broader look at the impacts of the White House proposal provides an opportunity to evaluate the gains the plan would bring — and note that they are narrow as well as hypothetical.

Friends of the Global Fight presents impacts of proposed cuts – The impacts of the cuts, on the other hand will be wide, deep, and damaging, according to this breakdown from The Friends of the Global Fight.

Funders concerned about AIDS cites [further] concerns – Trump’s proposal to massively diminish the amount of U.S. support for HIV care and treatment as well as other health-sustaining programs is highlighted here in the context of Trump policies that also diminish the value of the aid.

Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives – The headline alone should give a clue to the Trump administration why global health aid matters to security, but if not, the responses from experts in this article should help.

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