Within the first year of the presidency, the committee encourages the President to restructure the U.S. global health enterprise. This can be achieved by creating a White House Deputy Assistant to the President and an Interagency Committee on Global Health to lead, plan, prioritize, and coordinate the budgeting for major U.S. government global health programs and activities. The Interagency Committee should play the crucial role of ensuring that the U.S. government has a coherent strategy for ongoing investments in global health, including the means to achieve measurable, significant, and sustained health gains.
For the term of the Presidency, the committee proposes two objectives. The first is to mobilize financial resources for overseas health assistance. Specifically, the President and Congress should commit to spending $15 billion annually on global health by 2012 in support of the health-related MDGs and noncommunicable diseases and injuries. This assistance should be balanced across the government’s health portfolio in order to meet the global disease burden of the 21st century. With the aim of maximizing impact, these investments should focus on health outcomes, achieved through careful attention to country-led health plans, health systems, and health workforces, followed by rigorous evaluation.
Second, the committee suggests that Congress and the federal Executive Branch agencies and departments endeavor to advance U.S. strengths in global health research through an increased focus on health problems of the poorest populations. This will entail continuation of existing partnerships and creation of new partnerships between the U.S. government and the public and the private sectors in low-income and emerging economies, with the global benefit of building the capacity of local researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and institutions.
If the goals of U.S. global health investments are to be realized, multilateral collaboration with the global health community is essential. The United States should therefore provide full support to the WHO, and help to increase its financial security, technical excellence, and scientific independence from political influence. The administration should also support a rigorous, multinational, external review of the WHO with a view to producing future-oriented recommendations.
The United States has both the responsibility as a global citizen, and an opportunity as a global leader, to contribute to improved health around the world. Working in partnership with others and deploying the full complement of U.S. assets, the next President of the United States has the prospect of saving lives and improving the quality of life for hundreds of millions, while enhancing U.S. credibility abroad; this is a responsibility and opportunity to seize.