Global Health Overview

FY2018 Funding Recommendation:  
$9.51 billion


Funding History


       House/Senate FY2017 Request  

       InterAction's FY2018 Recommendation

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 Key Facts

  • As of September 2015, PEPFAR was supporting antiretroviral treatments for 9.5 million people with HIV/AIDS. 

  • USAID immunization programs save more than 3 million lives each year.

  • Globally, around 19,000 fewer children died every day in 2012 than in 1990.

U.S. global health funding through the Department of State and USAID helps reduce child mortality, slow the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, address health emergencies, prevent malnutrition, and support initiatives such as the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Relatively modest investments by the United States have not only saved lives, but 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 is also important to protect the health of Americans.

U.S. global health programs are providing antiretroviral treatment to 9.5 million people living with HIV and have prevented HIV transmission to millions more. Immunization programs save more than 3 million lives each year. Since its inception, PMI has distributed more than 105 million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, sprayed more than 5 million houses with insecticides (providing protection for over 18 million people), and provided 25 million preventative treatments for pregnant women. Programming also addresses diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases – as well as preventing malnutrition, decreasing maternal mortality, improving infant health, developing new health technologies and vaccines, and assisting women with the timing and spacing of pregnancies.

Global health efforts also focus on training capable health workers throughout developing nations in order to strengthen health systems abroad. Building the capacity of country health systems ensures healthier and safer populations, creates more prosperous economies, and reduces dependency on foreign aid. Additionally, greater flexibility in global health funding allows resources to be used for emerging health priorities, such as non-communicable diseases, injuries (such as road crashes), and the increased prevalence of individuals with disabilities.

Global health programs also develop and implement new technologies and tools to help countries get ahead of health challenges. Sustaining U.S. investments in global health is crucial so that these challenges do not become more expensive and difficult to resolve in the future.

For FY2018, InterAction recommends $9.51 billion for USAID and State Department global health programs. Please see the separate Choose to Invest global health pages, which provide more detail sector by sector.

Success Story

Pioneering Real-Time, Life-Saving Support to Frontline Health Workers

As the Ebola outbreak began spreading in West Africa in late 2013, weaknesses in national health systems accelerated its progress. Communication and support to health workers on the front lines emerged as a key gap.

In response, with USAID’s support, a consortium led by IntraHealth and the UN children’s organization UNICEF launched mHero, a free system that uses the basic mobile phones that most frontline health workers already have to connect them to health officials, each other, and life-saving information. The platform facilitates two-way communication using text messages and interactive voice response—and gets critical information to frontline health workers in real time.

National health officials in Liberia successfully piloted mHero in the midst of the country’s Ebola crisis in late 2014, and have continued rolling it out ever since. It now reaches 12,310 health workers across the country. Over 70% of health workers who received mHero messages have continued communicating with the system, indicating that they trust the system and find it easy to use. Through a USAID Ebola Grand Challenge award, Guinea, Mali, and Sierra Leone are also implementing mHero.

While developed as an emergency response to Ebola, mHero is designed to facilitate rapid response to other emerging threats and to contribute to sustainable, country-led strengthening of national health information systems. It allows coordinated communication amongst three open source platforms: (1) RapidPro (UNICEF), which sends, receives, and presents data using basic mobile phones; (2) iHRIS (IntraHealth), which helps more than 20 countries track and manage health workforce data; and (3) DHIS 2 (Health Information Systems Program), the preferred health management information system in 30 countries.

This open exchange and availability of information enables national decision-makers to analyze data, prioritize communication needs, and send messages to individual and targeted groups of health workers. In Liberia, for example, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has used mHero to conduct assessments, validate health worker information, and collect critical data on inventories of life-saving drugs to prevent newborn deaths and treat malaria.

Regional implementation of mHero has also resulted in knowledge-sharing across countries. As Samuel Randall, a data officer working on Sierra Leone’s system, noted after a trip to Liberia: “Working with the mHero team in Liberia was motivating and informative. A team of ministry staff—who truly champion iHRIS and mHero—leading the implementation [as opposed to outside groups] made it easier for other health sector staff to accept the platform and see its relevance.”

“The potential for Ebola flare ups and other public health threats continues,” he emphasized. “So we must continue to implement mHero. But mHero is not only an essential communication platform for emergency management… it is also a vehicle for strengthening communication among health officials and health workers on a day-to-day basis.”

Photo: IntraHealth International/mHero

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