As one of the frontier institutes of public health, the WHO is involved in its member countries’ activities towards improving and sustaining the health of its population; this serves to provide practical scenarios of how public health is implemented intra and inter-nationally.
The administration’s proposal, announced Tuesday, to slash approximately 30 percent from the State Department and foreign assistance budget signals an American retreat, leaving a vacuum that would make us far less safe and prosperous. While it may sound penny-wise, it is pound-foolish.
Every woman who has been pregnant can remember that moment when you come to understand that you harbor a new life inside your own body. A life for which you are responsible. It is the first day of the first 1,000 days which may be the most important for both you and your child in terms of the potential of that child living a long, healthy life. It's your first day of motherhood. This can be an equally frightening and exciting day.
As members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we often are confronted with the question of how the United States should respond to such crises. We also have the opportunity to visit countries near and far on behalf of the American people to assess the effectiveness of programs. Yet in our travels around the world, neither of us had experienced anything like we did when we entered the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda last month.
Approximately 48 million women per year do not have a skilled attendant, such as a midwife, nurse, or physician, at their birth. While the proportion of births in developing regions attended by skilled personnel rose from 55% to 65% between 1990 and 2009, this still leaves 1 in 3 women who gives birth without a skilled attendant present to help her. This is in stark comparison to developed regions where 99% of women giving birth have 1 or more skilled attendants with them throughout their labor and birth. Today more than 2 million women give birth each year with no one else present: no skilled birth attendant, no family, no friends.
During the last two presidential administrations, we have taken a stand to champion the historic funding to fight the HIV/AIDS global pandemic. When we began in 2002, less than 50,000 people who were victims of HIV in Sub Saharan Africa had access to anti-retro viral medications. Today, because of the legislation of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, over 17 million people have access to the medicines which have saved their lives. We are proud that the United States has been the international cornerstone leader of this funding as a moral response, a charitable response, and a response based on smart power— national security, foreign policy, and economic reasons.
While U.S. foreign assistance comprises less than 1 percent of the federal budget, programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Feed the Future, and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) have saved and improved the lives of tens of millions. For example, U.S. leadership has helped to cut in half global under-five child deaths over the last twenty-five years, and in the last ten years alone the U.S. has led efforts to provide AIDS treatment to more than 15 million patients and to reduce malaria deaths by 75 percent in many of the hardest hit countries.

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