Budget Cuts and Vaccine Fears Threaten Health Progress
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Cuts to global health research budgets and people’s wariness of vaccines could hamper efforts to improve health around the world, two separate reports have warned in the run-up to World Health Day, which is marked today.
One of the reports, published by the Global Health Technologies Coalition(GHTC), reveals that total US government spending on global health research and development (R&D) is now US$185 million — or 11 per cent — lower than it was in 2009.
The GHTC, a group of non-profit organisations that pushes for health research, says global health R&D funding needs to be rising at a time when, they say, several promising vaccines, drugs and diagnostics need to go through final, costly clinical trials.
“The US is the largest funder of global health research and development, so we have a big part to play in this area,” says GHTC director Erin Will Morton. The National Institutes of Health, for example, is one of the biggest drivers of research on vaccines for malaria, HIV and Ebola, the report says, so lowered budgets could hinder this work.
“We need to have robust and stablefunding for global health across US agencies,” says Morton. “Global health is an important long-term investment and it doesn’t fare well when it’s subjected to political battles in Washington with policymakers who only think in terms of short-term annual funding cycles.”