According to the Kaiser Family Foundation , the United States Government spends roughly $10 billion annually on health aid efforts around the world. THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY! Or, is it? Yes, its 1/5 of total aid from the entire human world, which is both pathetic and sad, but it is also a mere 16 percent of what American will fork over to spend on their pets this year. LITERALLY WHAT?!? Yes, animals deserve love, care and attention, but at what point do we stop prioritizing Fluffy’s bi-weekly blowout and start prioritizing saving children under 5 from dying from preventable diseases? (RHETORICAL QUESTION I KNOW DOGS AND CATS MATTER SO DON’T GET MAD AT ME). But honestly…
If you need more evidence that are pets are treated just like children, look no further than the socialization experiences that Los Angeles-area company Pussy and Pooch offer. Its “Pawbar” is a gourmet cafe for three animals so they can meet new friends. It also throws “Mutt Mingles” and “Cat Socials” three or four times a month to allow for play dates. (more here)
While $10 billion might seem low when comparing it to money spent on animals, it becomes even more, whats the word, terrifying when compared to the proposed cuts to federal aid recently made by the Trump Administration.
The ~$10 billion is currently spent on a lot of infectious disease interventions. According to this article by Amanda Glassman, COO and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, PEPFAR and local partners have been able to locate 70% of the 900,000 people living with HIV in Malawi, and enrolled 89% of them on treatment. Results throughout the African Continent paint a similar picture, by partnering with local governments and NGO’s American funded health interventions have made huge impacts on some of the worlds most infectious diseases. Cutting the funding to PEPFAR and other global health interventions would have MASSIVE trickle down effects on international trade, economics, and population. Not to mention the possibility of political instability due to the inability to keep citizens healthy, the world does not need any more civil wars.
Are all US Government funded interventions as effective as they could be? No, there are definitely some major pitfalls and some huge lessons to learn from previous interventions. But arbitrarily and suddenly stopping funding of essential aid is going to do so much bad. So so much bad.
For those of you who constantly make comments about how “we need to focus on American health! Think about the health issues in our country, Obamacare! Obesity! Heart Disease” SHUUUUUUUUT IT. I know, and I agree that those are extremely important things that also deserve a lot of attention from our President (and he’s already made some moves there). But I’m talking about diseases that transcend our boarders. Cutting funding to international health aid will only make the US more at risk of highly infectious outbreaks.
The increased “America centric” mindset is going to be our nations biggest downfall. Global health aid from the United States supports early detection and response of outbreaks around the world. The WHO lists a lot of outbreaks in 2016. Like, well over 100 outbreaks of dozens of strains of infections. Almost zero of them were on the news in the United States…you know why? Because they were squished out by intelligent doctors and scientists in their country or region of origin. Many of these countries cannot fund the necessary quelling efforts, that’s where US global health aid steps in. Without US global health aid any number of those diseases could have created the next pandemic.
I’m not going to touch the Mexico City Policy-I think that deserves its own post (if you want me to, that is). But if more life saving and disease eradicating interventions are to be cut, I hope our government has the intelligence to examine each and every current intervention and does not make across the board cuts that will dramatically alter the upward curve of global health success.