Duke Partners in Health Engage (PIHE) met with Congressman David Price last month to discuss the future of global health legislation, urging him to maintain funding for PEPFAR, the Global Fund and bilateral tuberculosis.
In addition to being a member of the budgetary committee and Committee on Foreign Affairs, Price has been a staunch supporter of health equity, with an extensive record in support of health services. While this is promising, there is reason to fear for the future of global health funding, as President Donald Trump included in his 2017 budget request to slash funding for the wildly successful and bipartisan-backed President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by $300 million and "begin slowing the rate of new patients on treatment in FY 17." This is detrimental, as PEPFAR not only helps treat HIV/AIDS, but also strengthens local health systems so nations are better equipped to manage all health conditions. It supports 11.5 million people on life-saving antiretroviral therapy while the Global Fund funds programs supporting antiretroviral access for over 8 million people. Additionally, we need to implement a global action plan to fight tuberculosis, the leading infectious killer.
Duke’s chapter on behalf of PIHE urged Price to fight to strengthen PEPFAR, the Global Fund and bilateral Tuberculosis. While Price gave us his “full support to global health,” this is a bipartisan issue people across the political spectrum can get behind. Investing in the health of our fellow man is possibly the best investment we can make.