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US should increase commitment to improve health of developing nations, says report

Washington, May 22 (ANI): A new report has said that the United States of America should reaffirm and increase its commitment to improving the health of developing nations.

The report, from the Institute of Medicine, determines that the United States should increase its funding for overseas disease prevention and treatment to 15 billion dollars per year by 2012 to achieve this goal.

In addition, scale-up of existing preventive and therapeutic interventions and a boost in research on health problems that are endemic to low- and middle-income countries will be required. 

The U.S. government, along with other nations, academia, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private foundations, and other partners, should lead efforts to build the health care work forces and facilities in resource-limited countries.

Many have critical deficits that hamper delivery of care even when it is available.

The report adds that public and private donors need to engage individuals and organizations in these nations as respected partners to ensure accountability and sustainability of aid initiatives.

The committee that wrote the report supports US President Obama’s recent announcement of plans to make health a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, a recommendation the committee made in its interim report released in December. 

According to the new report, the president should underscore this commitment by creating a White House Interagency Committee on Global Health headed by a senior White House official to plan, prioritize, and coordinate budgeting for the nation’s global health programs and activities. 

“It is crucial for the reputation of the United States that we live up to our humanitarian responsibilities and assist low-income countries in safeguarding the health of their poorest citizens despite current pressures on our economy,” said committee co-chair Thomas R. Pickering, vice chairman, Hills and Co., Washington, D.C., and former undersecretary of state for political affairs. 

“America should act in the global interest, recognizing that long-term diplomatic, economic, and security benefits will follow,” he added.

“The U.S. government and American foundations, companies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations together have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of millions,” said co-chair Harold Varmus, president, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, and former director of the National Institutes of Health. 

“Now more than ever, the knowledge and technologies to tackle the health problems of developing nations are within reach.  A new generation of philanthropists, students, scientists, and business leaders is eager to make a difference in our global community,” he added. (ANI)

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