What Does the Sequester Mean for Global Health?

Sequestration cuts are bearing down on the U.S. government -- just two more days.

With all the media coverage of these cuts' potential impacts, does the sequester feel intangible? Incomprehensible?  Our friends at amFAR have broken down the 2013 human impact of global health-related budget sequestration cuts. You can read their full analysis, but here are just a couple examples of what will happen in 2013 if sequester cuts occur:

  • 65,000 fewer people with TB will receive treatment, leading to 8,000 more deaths due to TB; and 350 fewer people with MDR-TB will receive treatment
  • 1.2 million fewer vaccines for children will be available through the GAVI Alliance, leading to 13,000 more child deaths from preventable illnesses such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, and hepatitis B.

And yesterday the Global Health Technologies Coalition launched a report explaining how sequester cuts would impact innovation of new global health tools like vaccines and drugs.  

From The Hill blog:

  • A coalition of global health nonprofit organizations said U.S. funding has spurred a marked increase in the number of global health products over the last ten years.

    These developments place the movement at a critical point, particularly as U.S. policymakers face a variety of fiscal deadlines, the advocates said in a new report.

    “Health research breakthroughs serve a remarkable humanitarian purpose and reap domestic rewards by creating U.S. jobs, spurring business activity, and engaging a range of partners,” the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) said in the report.“ Cutting funding for global health and [research and development] programs would barely make a dent in reducing the U.S. federal deficit but would have a crippling impact on people’s health and lives around the world.”

    The coalition called on policymakers to direct more focus toward neglected diseases, including creating a new office within the Food and Drug Administration office to coordinate related activities.