A Word about the Global Health Initiative Resource Tool Kit
We need good medical tools if we want to make lasting progress against diseases like malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and neglected tropical diseases—diseases collectively known as “neglected infectious diseases.” We need better diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and other prevention strategies. But we can’t stop there, because diseases don’t stop. Even after we have effective tools, we need to continue doing research because drug resistance happens—diseases change all the time.
Federal governments are major funders of research on these diseases. But the amount that governments, including the U.S. government, have allocated to this research and development (R&D) is insufficient given the huge global health and economic toll that these diseases take.
Strong advocacy efforts are needed to carry the message to policy makers that more needs to be done—that it is in our interest to develop effective ways to fight neglected infectious diseases.
Families USA’s Global Health Initiative Resource Tool Kit provides advocates and others interested in global health with the background information they need to talk about neglected infectious diseases, how the U.S. government gets involved in research on these diseases, why more research is needed, and research funding.
Changes Since the Tool Kit Was Completed
This tool kit was completed at the beginning of 2009, and as always happens, things have not stood still. A new Administration came into power in Washington, D.C. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”), which has temporarily given a boost to U.S. research: The Recovery Act includes $10.4 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America’s leading health research agency. In addition, the 2009 budget gives a 3.2 percent increase in funding to NIH, and debate on the 2010 budget is underway.
As a result of this progress, some of the particulars regarding our estimates on agency funding needs have changed, and they will continue to change as new budgets are proposed and debated. However, for advocates using this tool kit, the basic messages and arguments are the same: New medical tools—diagnostics, treatments, and prevention strategies—are critical to the fight against global diseases, and these tools won’t come about without targeted R&D. The U.S. government can and should fund more neglected infectious disease R&D—doing so is good for our health security and our economy, and it promotes American leadership.
Other Resources for Global Health Research Advocacy
Families USA’s Global Health Initiative has other resources that can help in your advocacy for global health research.
Families USA’s Global Health Initiative hopes that you find these resources helpful. We also hope that you’ll join in advocating for increased government funding for global health R&D.