The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that it will be drastically cutting funding to curb global epidemics.
As the Washington Post reported Friday, the government health bureau will be slashing programs on disease prevention in 39 out of the 49 countries in which it operates due to budget woes.
The CDC began notifying staffers two weeks ago of its intention to downsize “because money is running out,” the Post claims.
Federal health workers will instead centralize their efforts in 10 key nations: Guatemala, India, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam.
The 80 percent reduction in programming will impact nations such as China, Congo, Haiti, Pakistan, and Rwandaall of which are extremely vulnerable to future outbreaks of infectious disease. Haiti, which President Trump recently referred to as a “shithole country,” has battled an eruption of cholera cases, while Congo has suffered at least six Ebola outbreaks since 2000.
The U.S. Congress approved an influx of $600 million in funding to the CDC four years ago to fight West Africa’s Ebola epidemica decision that has been effectively rolled back by this decision.
Many of the countries most affected by this move, however, are those with profoundly high rates of HIV/AIDS. Rwanda has the 21st highest-rate of HIV in the world, while Congo is right behind it at no. 22. Fourteen percent of gay and bisexual men in Sierra Leone, whose programming will be cut without additional funding by Oct. 1, are positive for the virus.
Organizations working on global health lamented the dramatic cutbacks.
“Not only will CDC be forced to narrow its countries of operations, but the U.S. also stands to lose vital information about epidemic threats garnered on the ground through trusted relationships, real-time surveillance, and research,” more than 200 international health entities claimed in a letter.
They urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to reverse the decision and recommit to epidemic control.
The move was announced weeks after the Trump administration threatened to scale back funding for HIV/AIDS prevention by $800 million. The 2018 budget proposal threatened to slash The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) “by 17 percent and overall, guts global health programs by $2 billion,” reported CBS News.
The advocacy group ONE Campaign, which fights poverty and disease in Africa, claimed the cutbacks would lead to the “first global increase in new HIV infections since 1995, with nearly 200,000 additional HIV infections in the first year.”