New study: U.S. global health investments see major payoffs

News reports this week highlighted a PLOS Medicine study that found that U.S. investments in the fight against malaria have saved the lives of nearly 2 million children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the past decade, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), launched by President George W. Bush in 2005, has represented significant progress. In 2000, malaria was the leading cause of death for children under age 5, with about 700,000 lives lost each year to a preventable and treatable disease. Countries benefiting from PMI programs have seen mortality rates decline by 16 percent among children under 5.

Bilateral programs like PMI team up with public-private partnerships like the Global Fund to create even more impact. All 19 PMI focus countries receive support from the Global Fund, and PMI field teams work with national malaria control programs to provide technical support, thereby facilitating implementation of lifesaving Global Fund grants.

In addition, PMI collaborates with the Global Fund on malaria interventions, such as procuring and distributing millions of insecticide-treated nets to protect small children and families from mosquitoes. Together, the U.S. and the Global Fund provide three-quarters of all funding for global malaria programs and policies.

Finally, while saving millions of lives, these global health investments also work to make America safer. Responding to and controlling infectious diseases where they originate keeps new threats from reaching our shores. In addition, foreign assistance also helps bolster the reputation of the U.S. across the globe. That’s particularly true in countries where PEPFAR operates, and according to the Pew Research Center, in nine countries where PMI operates as well.

Global health investments, including PMI, PEPFAR and the Global Fund, among others, make up only a quarter of 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget. Budget cuts to these programs and the larger foreign assistance account could have devastating outcomes. But there is something you can do: Watch and share this video and use this tool to reach out to your Congressional representatives about the importance of continuing investments in global health. The future health of kids and families depend on this crucial funding.