Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently highlighted the next stage in American’s approach to worldwide health care. Secretary Clinton stated that the United States' Global Health Initiative "represents a new approach, informed by new thinking and aimed at a new goal: To save the greatest possible number of lives, both by increasing our existing health programs and by building upon them to help countries develop their own capacity to improve the health of their own people."
Historically, the U.S. has been a pioneer in advancing global health. A major contributor to the eradication of smallpox, the U.S. also guided the distribution of micronutrients, supported efforts to prevent and treat HIV and malaria, and ensured immunizations were accessible to all children. The U.S. has sustained its leadership role; currently, providing nearly 60 percent of donor funding for HIV and AIDS worldwide. "All told," said Secretary Clinton, "40 percent of the total global funding for development assistance for health comes from the United States."
The benefits of investing in global health are far reaching. Improved health of individuals strengthens fragile or failing states, promotes social and economic progress, protects the national security of the U.S. and partner countries, and enhances diplomacy.
Secretary Clinton discussed the relationship between foreign policy and global health, noting: "We have seen places where people who suffer from poor health struggle on many levels. Poverty is usually widespread. Infrastructure is usually incomplete. Food production and school enrollments are usually low. People who would otherwise take the lead in driving progress for their families and nations are instead dragged down by disease, deprivation, and lost opportunity."
The Global Health Initiative takes a progressive, comprehensive approach that creates sustainable infrastructure to improve health. The Initiative builds on evidence-based science, existing proven programs, and strong relationships with in-country partners and multilateral organizations.
"We’re shifting our focus from solving problems one at a time to serving people," said Secretary Clinton, "by considering more fully the circumstances of their lives and ensuring they can get the care they need most over the course of their lifetimes."
Under the Global Health Initiative, the U.S. is providing 63 billion dollars to support maternal and child health, family planning, neglected tropical diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS programs. The U.S. is also reinforcing in-country capacities by creating tailored programming, evaluating impact, improving coordination, and investing in technology.