Following the Trump administration’s announcement of its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which proposed to cut about $6 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and specifically planned to eliminate the John E. Fogarty International Center, there was an overwhelming global outpouring of support for the Fogarty Center. Testimonials, opinion pieces and editorials describing the contributions of the Fogarty Center over the past 50 years appeared in Science, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature and several international blogs and newspapers.
In last week’s issue of The Lancet, 12 of the world’s leading authorities in Global Health from low- and middle-income countries, including Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim (CAPRISA); Alash’le Abimiku (Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria); Linda-Gail Bekker (The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town); Elizabeth Bukusi (Kenya Medical Research Institution); Marie Marcelle Deschamps (GHESKIO Centers in Haiti); Miliard Derbew (Addis Ababa University); Patricia Garcia (Ministry of Health in Peru); Glenda Gray (South African Medical Research Council); Moses Kamya (Makerere University School of Medicine in Uganda); Soumya Swaminathan (Indian Council of Medical Research) and Zunyou Wu (China CDC) showed their support of the Fogarty Center in a letter to the editor that describes the important role the US has played in protecting the US and the world from infectious disease threats through the NIH’s Fogarty Center.
They provide evidence of the contribution made by the US in helping several countries around the world deal with imminent threats like bird flu, SARS, AIDS etc and how the proposed closure of the NIH’s Fogarty Center would imperil this in future.
Further support for the Fogarty Center was evident at the recent 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science that was held in Paris. During a special symposium, a panel of senior HIV/AIDS research leaders from low– and middle-income countries reflected on how their early research training through the Fogarty International Center enabled them to become leaders in the field and facilitate discoveries and development of drugs and best practices. Speakers at the session included Dr Linda-Gail Bekker, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Glenda Gray and Salim S. Abdool Karim. At the session, Dr Roger Glass from the Fogarty International Center announced that the immediate threat of closure of the FIC is now past as both the House and Senate have passed the appropriations bill. However, President Trump still needs to sign it – though this should be a formality.
Read the full letter here:
Abdool Karim S.S. et al. Closing the NIH Fogarty Center threatens US and
global health. Lancet 2017; 390:451.
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