Today, Congress sent to the President a budget that is critical to our efforts in ending malaria deaths. This bipartisan bill reaffirmed what we have known for some time: the foreign affairs budget and the United Nations are critical to our national interests, and malaria programs are an incredible investment that have broad support across party lines.
Thanks to the combined efforts of a dedicated community of advocates, malaria funding has now reached the highest levels ever seen—an $81 million increase in funding for the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), bringing total funding for PMI to $755 million this year. Congress also increased funding for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and fully funded the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, all of whom play critical roles in malaria elimination. Together, global partners have helped to save nearly seven million lives since 2000.
This bipartisan budget bill is a commendable and encouraging sign from Congress that American leadership will not waiver in the global fight to end devastating diseases like malaria. These modest investments will ensure not only that more lives are saved, but also that our national security and economy are strengthened, and that our brave men and women serving abroad in the armed forces are protected.
Studies show that ending malaria by 2040 could save more than 11 million lives and $2 trillion in economic losses, presenting a smart economic opportunity for U.S. business interests around the world. Fighting disease abroad also protects our military and prevents epidemics from crossing our borders—as the Pentagon has stated, malaria is still the top public health threat to American soldiers overseas.
In reflecting on this major milestone in the fight against malaria, I want to thank the thousands of Nothing But Nets supporters who have worked tirelessly to call, write, and meet with their members of Congress—especially our champions who came to DC and held 101 meetings on Capitol Hill this past World Malaria Day—urging lawmakers to ensure that the U.S. maintains its leadership role around the world.
Our advocacy has made a major impact – but this is just the beginning. In the next two weeks, Congress will start deciding on funding for the fight against malaria and the United Nations in next year’s budget, and we need to be ready. Let’s make sure this progress continues – take a moment today to thank your members of Congress on social media for their leadership in increasing funding in the fight against malaria:
Tweet this: Thank you @[insert member’s handle] for supporting increased funding for the fight to #defeatmalaria with @NothingButNets!