Since the beginning of the Bush administration, the United States has played a central role in a global partnership to alleviate the burden of poverty and disease worldwide, including viral diseases and other infectious diseases. Billions of dollars in funding each year have gone to help fight disease around the world, and the victories have been many. In addition, over the past 16 years foreign aid has enjoyed unique bipartisan support in a series of Congresses known for gridlock.
Today, there are a variety of pressing issues which demand the attention of those involved in international public health and disease control, including conflicts, migration and refugee crises, climate change, and new pandemic threats. At this juncture in public health history comes Donald Trump to lead the executive branch of the US government. Many in Washington and around the world are left guessing at the new role the US may play; it has historically been a key voice in setting the global health agenda worldwide. Will he cut funding to these critical programs in order to show a more domestic focus and reduce spending? How will his administration deal with potentially controversial issues related to women's and maternal health? Will the administration even prioritize long-term investments in prevention and disease control worldwide?
Trump's plans for addressing these global health challenges and more have been thin on details. When asked whether he would commit to doubling the number of people on treatment for HIV/AIDS to 30 million by 2020, Trump responded with the following: "Well, I like committing to all of those things. Those are great things. Alzheimer's, AIDS, so many different — you now, we are close on some of them. On some of them, honestly, with all of the work that has been done — which hasn't been enough, we are not very close. But the answer is yes. I believe so strongly in that. And we are going to lead the way."
by Julia Daniel