Global Health Overview
FY2016 Funding Recommendation:
President's FY2016 Request
InterAction's FY2016 Recommendation
Investment in global health programming saves lives, improves medical care around the world, and is a core piece of the United States’ mission to end poverty and meet the basic needs of the poorest of the poor. Past global health funding has reduced child mortality, slowed the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, addressed health emergencies, prevented malnutrition, and supported initiatives such as the President’s Malaria Initiative and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Relatively modest investments by the United States have also improved the economic growth and stability of developing nations. And since national borders do not stop the spread of disease, addressing global health issues also helps protect Americans.
These programs address diseases such as polio, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, while also preventing malnutrition, decreasing maternal mortality, improving infant health, developing new health technologies and vaccines, and assisting women with the timing and spacing of pregnancies. They also strengthen health systems by training capable health workers in developing nations. Building the capacity of country health systems ensures healthier and safer populations, creates more prosperous economies, and reduces dependency on foreign aid.
Global health programs also develop and implement new technologies and tools that help countries prepare for future health challenges and improve their ability to respond to the health needs of their people. Sustaining U.S. investments in these programs is critical to ensuring that health challenges do not become more expensive and difficult to resolve in the future. For FY2016, InterAction recommends $10.078 billion for USAID and State Department global health programs. Please see the separate Choose to Invest global health pages for details on individual sectors. Please see the separate Choose to Invest global health pages which provide more detail sector by sector.
Encouraging expectant mothers to hospitals
In Ethiopia, pregnant women eagerly await the traditional ceremony accompanying their delivery as much as they wait for their baby. During delivery, the mother’s friends and family prepare a coffee ceremony, burn incense, and prepare “genfo,” an Ethiopian porridge. It is traditionally believed that if the mother doesn’t taste genfo as soon as she delivers the baby, Satan could enter into her.
Most Ethiopian women give birth at home with the assistance of a traditional midwife. Even when women learn that they should deliver at a health facility, many do not out of fear of missing the traditional ceremony. Recognizing this situation, and the dangers it involves, the mother mentors at Korem Health Center in Tigray, Ethiopia, started performing the traditional Ethiopian birth ceremony at their health center.
As a result, more women are delivering at the health center. According to the mother mentors, since they started the ceremony, 59 mothers have given birth at the health center, 12 of whom are HIV-positive.
Since September 2011, the ENHAT-CS program has provided support to 236 mother mentors, who provide individual counseling and facilitate peer learning within mother support groups at 59 program supported health centers and have reached nearly 10,000 HIV-positive mothers.
“We are now the talk of the town because we prepare the ceremony for women that deliver at the health center. Now pregnant mothers come to the health facility for delivery because it is like their homes,” says Jember Alemayehu, one of the mothers mentors.
The mother mentors at Korem Health Center have inspired the mother mentors at Kukuftu Health Center, 50 kilometers from Korem, to also start providing the traditional Ethiopian birth ceremony for women delivering at their health center.
ENHAT-CS is funded by PEPFAR through USAID and implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH).
Photo Credit: Genaye Eshetu, Sr. Communications Specialist for ENHAT-CS