The U.S. and Global Health

Why does the US invest in global health?

  • It protects Americans – Global health affects everyone because health knows no borders. Infectious diseases such as avian influenza, tuberculosis, SARS and West Nile Virus can cause pandemics and threaten our national security.
  • It saves America money and helps build economic partnerships – Some health challenges such as HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases can have a major global political and economic impact. Good health is part of the foundation for building a stable economy. Poor health hinders one’s ability to access educational opportunities or hold a job. Poor health undermines countries’ development and trade and can reinforce the cycle of poverty and political instability.
  • It demonstrates moral leadership and improves how other countries view America – U.S. leadership on global health issues provides us with a constructive opportunity in public diplomacy. As a world leader, the U.S. is positioned to assist developing countries through investment in health assistance and use this assistance to support constructive U.S. engagement with weak and failing states. No diplomatic initiatives can better serve the U.S. interest in winning people’s hearts and minds than investing in global health programs.
  • Its support is bipartisan – Republicans and Democrats alike have continuously stressed the importance of U.S. support for global health programs. The general public also supports U.S. global health funding, with more than two-thirds of Americans saying the U.S. either spends too little or about the right amount on global health.

Read on to learn more about the U.S. players in global health, their role in global health, and the funding breakdown by sector.