From U.S. Senate to G8 Summit, Global Health Issues at Stake

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From Capitol Hill to sub-Saharan Africa, the subject of spending on global health is likely to take center stage this week, or at least a more prominent place than usual. But the increased attention may not result in more robust resources for the deadly epidemics of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

In Washington, the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up its foreign affairs spending bill this week, determining crucial funding levels for global AIDS and TB programs. The House has already marked-up its version of the bill; click here to read our earlier blog post on the modest increases approved in that chamber for PEPFAR and bilateral TB.

Meanwhile, world leaders will gather in Italy on Wednesday for the G8 Summit; there’s deep concern that global health will get short-shrift at the session, as government officials seek to backtrack from earlier commitments amid the economic crisis. This Huffington Post piece provides a good sense of the landscape, and we’ll try to provide updates as the summit gets underway.

Finally, at the end of the week, President Barack Obama will travel to Ghana, his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as president. It is a chance for global health advocates to highlight the immense needs in that region, but even that milestone visit isn’t likely to drum up much new support for global HIV funding. The White House choose Ghana because to showcase a stable democracy on the continent, as the New York Times reported in this story a while back. And Obama is set to talk about food aid there, not disease epidemics.

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