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President Barack Obama has sent the U.S. Congress his policy agenda and budget request for next year. Because the U.S. economy is still recovering from the global financial crisis, the President's proposals focus on many domestic concerns such as creating new jobs.
But the U.S. isn't backing off its commitment to aid other nations. In fact, the President has asked for increased funding for global development programs to provide humanitarian and economic assistance around the world.
Specifically, President Obama is proposing to boost U.S. efforts to promote health and well- being in developing countries. One major initiative aims to help other nations develop strategies to increase food production. As part of a new emphasis on global health, the President's budget will also devote new funding to reduce the number of mothers and infants who die each year from complications of childbirth or pregnancy, poor nutrition, and malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and polio.
These are treatable diseases, yet they kill millions every year. And rather than the U.S. delivering aid services on its own, it will continue to work with its partner countries to build their capacity to deliver services through strong and accountable institutions.
The fight against HIV/AIDS remains the cornerstone of the global health strategy. Through this effort, the U.S. Government will continue to scale up successful HIV prevention, treatment and care efforts. Other specific diseases being targeted for reduction or elimination include tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic disease common to Africa and South Asia that affects more than 120 million people worldwide. Another target is river-blindness, which also plagues Africa.
By adopting a new and expanded approach to its international health assistance programs, the U.S. hopes to both reduce disease and leave behind more sustainable public health systems through which partner nations can provide better care for their people.