Message From Elisha

June 27, 2024

Though we were anticipating it, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) funding bill, which was recently approved by the House Appropriations Committee, should serve as a significant warning sign for the global health community.

Beyond simply falling far short of what is needed to address current global crises, the bill proposes an 8% (or $762 million) reduction to global health programs. It would place additional constraints on U.S. funding to global health security generally, as well as to several UN agencies, and create unnecessary obstacles to allocating resources for a global pandemic agreement. These proposals are indicative of a retreat of U.S. leadership and influence on the world stage.

All of this is in advance of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections in November.

There is so much focus on the elections, but we are seeing significant assaults on global health, and the long-term ramifications of these actions, already. By now, we likely have all heard about the egregious proposals set forth by the 2025 Presidential Transition Project (also known as Project 2025). We know what could be coming under a new administration. However, even a steady state for global health does not equate to progress. For example, the 2025 fiscal year budget proposed by the current administration was less than ambitious.

The future of global health is in danger, regardless of November’s election outcome. We’ve heard the message “there has never been a more critical time for global health advocates” so often, especially in recent years, that we’ve become inured to it. But I truly can’t think of greater existential threats — whether they be stagnation or backward policies — than those we currently face.

At a time when the world is experiencing concurrent destabilizing events, and with the continued threat of emerging infectious diseases, we can’t afford to diminish funding for global health programs.

In the coming months, GHC will be working on ways to address these threats. One way we will be doing so is by convening members to conduct election-related scenario planning in July. We are hopeful that, among other things, outcomes of this discussion will include clear policy recommendations and aligned messaging. If there are other opportunities you see, or gaps that would be useful for GHC to fill, please let us know.

The alarm bells are getting louder, but advocates must be louder still. The health and well-being of people all over the world is at stake.