Heart-surgeon and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has a compelling op-ed today in “The Week” that gives five good reasons not to cut global health investments — even in these tough economic times.
Because of the generosity of American citizens, millions of lives are saved in poor countries all over the world. From Africa to Latin America to Asia and the Caribbean, US taxpayers are sending life-saving drugs to people living with HIV/AIDS, vaccines for children, anti-malarial bed nets, and so much more to millions of grateful mothers, fathers and children in need — and all for less than 1 percent of the federal budget.
Sen. Frist makes compelling arguments for ways our global health investments serve our own interests by preventing the spread of deadly diseases and helping to stabilize poor countries.
On the security argument, Sen. Frist writes:
“A hopeful people are a people who shun terrorism. And nothing destroys hope more than a society without a future, hollowed out by diseases that decimate middle-aged civil servants, police, doctors, and teachers. A bleak and nonproductive future for an individual sets the stage for societal discontent and chaos.
Our investments in public health reverse these tragedies, and fuel the smart power of health diplomacy. Kaiser Family Foundation surveys have repeatedly revealed that more than half the public thinks U.S. spending on health in developing countries is helpful for U.S. diplomacy (59 percent) and for improving America’s image in the countries receiving aid (56 percent).”
Senator Frist also reminds us that serving the poor, even in distant places, is rooted in our core values as Americans. As he says, we should support our global health initiatives “because it’s the right thing to do.”
Please read this article and let your members of Congress know you support smart, effective programs which are saving millions of lives around the world, and you do not want to see them cut.