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On Monday, President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17).

February 10, 2016 by Courtney Carson

budget On Monday, President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). For global health advocates the budget was a mixed bag. GHTC was pleased to see many critical global health accounts receive proposed funding boosts, but there also worrisome cuts or flat-lined funding proposed in other important areas. New tools and technologies are critical for advancing global health, and robust funding for US global health accounts is key to bolstering US leadership in global health research and development (R&D).

USAID and Department of State

For the first time in several years, the President’s request for global health programs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State is higher than the level of funding enacted the previous year: the White House requested US$2.906 billion, which is $73.1 million (2.6 percent) higher than the $2.834 billion appropriated for global health programs at the two agencies in the fiscal year 2016 (FY16) Omnibus.

This funding increase reflects sustained commitment to USAID’s global health goals—ending preventable maternal and child deaths, preventing infectious disease epidemics, and achieving an AIDS-free generation—all of which require emphasis on R&D. Specific programs proposed to receive increases include: $64.5 million increase for USAID’s maternal and child health programs, including a $40 million increase to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; $20.1 million increase for family planning and reproductive health; and a $71 million increase for malaria programs.

These increases are critical to US engagement in global health R&D:

  • New funding for the maternal and child health and family planning and reproductive health accounts will bolster USAID’s work to develop new innovations to help women and infants during pregnancy and childbirth, a strong component of the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge.
  • Increased contributions to Gavi to advance international efforts to deliver new and underused vaccines to children living in the world’s poorest countries.
  • Increased funding for malaria—including the President’s Malaria Initiative—will accelerate US efforts to eradicate malaria through the development of new vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and vector-control innovations.

Despite these welcome increases, the President’s FY17 proposal cuts funding to several key accounts, including a $16.5 million cut for nutrition, $7.5 million for vulnerable children, and $13.5 million in cuts to neglected tropical disease (NTD) programs at USAID. The proposal also decreases funding for tuberculosis (TB) programs by $19.1 million, which comes in sharp contrast to the Administration’s National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), released in December 2015.

These cuts could stifle promising work in global health R&D:

  • Since 2014, the USAID NTD Program has been investing in R&D to ensure that promising new breakthrough medicines for filarial diseases can be rapidly evaluated, registered, and made available to patients. Limited funding could hamper these burgeoning efforts.
  • The Administration’s MDR-TB Action Plan includes a strong research component. Limited funding for TB will hamper efforts to implement the plan and achieve its goals to accelerate R&D for new TB drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines to address the growing threat of drug resistance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Photo: CDC/Dr. Scott Smith
Photo: CDC/Dr. Scott Smith

Key accounts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received modest increases. The CDC Center for Global Health received a $15 million increase (3.5 percent) to $442.1 million, which bolstered funding for the Global Immunization ($224 million from $219 million) and Global Public Health Protection ($65.2 million from $55.2 million) programs. These accounts are critical for accelerating CDC’s role in developing and implementing novel vaccines and immunization programs, as well as for bolstering the agency’s role in capacity building for global health research and disease detection in partner countries.

CDC’s Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) received a $49.6 million increase (8.6 percent), to $629.49 million. This increase will bolster NCEZID’s important work to develop new diagnostics, countermeasures, and innovative technologies for diseases like Ebola, rabies, and chikungunya. The additional funding will also help accelerate implementation of the National Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

National Institutes of Health

Funding for the National Institutes of Health—which conducts the bulk of the United States’ global health R&D—is also critical. For several key offices and institutes, the President’s FY17 budget proposes nearly flat funding:

  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) received a $71.55 million increase (1.5 percent) to $4.7 billion. NIAID conducts vital R&D to accelerate the development of novel vaccines and other countermeasures to respond to public health emergencies—including the recent Ebola and Zika epidemics.
  • The Office of AIDS Research (OAR) received level funding at $3.1 billion. Research conducted through OAR has been vital to the development of new tools and technologies to treat, diagnose, and prevent HIV and AIDS, and robust funding for research is critical to achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Advancing global health requires a strong commitment to global health R&D. The President’s FY17 budget represents a promising start to advancing US leadership in global health innovation and is just the beginning of negotiations between Congress, US Agencies, and the Administration on final funding levels for FY17. GHTC will continue to monitor global health R&D accounts in the FY17 appropriations process and will support global health funding that facilitates sustained and robust investments in global health innovation.

All $millions FY16 Omnibus FY17 President request FY17 President request v. FY16 enacted
USAID Global Health Programs $2,834 $2,906.50 2.6%
Tuberculosis $236 $191 -19.1%
Malaria $674.00 $745 10.5%
HIV and AIDS $330 $330 0.0%
Maternal & Child Health $750 $814.50 8.6%
Of which GAVI $235 $275 17.0%
Nutrition $125 $108.50 -13.2%
Neglected Tropical Diseases $100 $86.50 -13.5%
Vulnerable Children $22 $14.50 -34.1%
Global Health Security $72.50 $72.50 0.0%
Family Planning & Reproductive Health $524 $544 3.8%



All $Millions FY16 Omnibus FY17 President request FY17 President request v. FY16 enacted
CDC Global Health $427.12 $442.12 3.5%
Global Immunization Program $219.00 $224.00 2.3%
Of which Polio Program $169.00 $174.00 3.0%
Of which Global Measles & others $50.00 $50.00 0.0%
Global AIDS Program $128.40 $128.42 0.0%
Parasitic Diseases and Malaria $24.50 $24.50 0.0%
Global Public Health Protection $55.20 $65.20 18.1%
CDC NCEZID $579.89 $629.49 8.6%



All $Millions FY16 Omnibus FY17 President request FY17 President request v. FY16 enacted
NIAID $4,629.00 $4,700.55 1.5%
Of which HIV and AIDS $1,400.05
Of which Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases $1,370.35
Of which Infectious & Immunologic Diseases $1,081.69
Office of AIDS Research $3,100.06 $3,100.06 0%
Of which Vaccines $553.91
Of which Therapeutics $645.29
Of which Microbicides $108.88

About the author

Courtney CarsonGHTC

Courtney Carson is a policy and advocacy officer at GHTC, who leads GHTC's US advocacy portfolio.