Approximately 48 million women per year do not have a skilled attendant, such as a midwife, nurse, or physician, at their birth. While the proportion of births in developing regions attended by skilled personnel rose from 55% to 65% between 1990 and 2009, this still leaves 1 in 3 women who gives birth without a skilled attendant present to help her. This is in stark comparison to developed regions where 99% of women giving birth have 1 or more skilled attendants with them throughout their labor and birth. Today more than 2 million women give birth each year with no one else present: no skilled birth attendant, no family, no friends.
While U.S. foreign assistance comprises less than 1 percent of the federal budget, programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Feed the Future, and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) have saved and improved the lives of tens of millions. For example, U.S. leadership has helped to cut in half global under-five child deaths over the last twenty-five years, and in the last ten years alone the U.S. has led efforts to provide AIDS treatment to more than 15 million patients and to reduce malaria deaths by 75 percent in many of the hardest hit countries.
During the last two presidential administrations, we have taken a stand to champion the historic funding to fight the HIV/AIDS global pandemic. When we began in 2002, less than 50,000 people who were victims of HIV in Sub Saharan Africa had access to anti-retro viral medications. Today, because of the legislation of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, over 17 million people have access to the medicines which have saved their lives. We are proud that the United States has been the international cornerstone leader of this funding as a moral response, a charitable response, and a response based on smart power— national security, foreign policy, and economic reasons.
President Donald Trump’s vow to put “America first” includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources.

The administration’s March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. According to a detailed 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy, the overhaul also includes rechanneling funding from development assistance into a program that is tied closely to national security objectives.
Tuesday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Malaria is an infectious disease claiming the lives of now 429,000 people each year – mostly children.

Living in the South most of my life, I am all too familiar with the annoyance of mosquitos, especially in the evening. But I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to live with mosquitoes beyond annoyance; an insect bite that might mean the death of my sweet little boy. Millions of mothers and fathers face that fear around the globe year after year, whereby malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly bought time “to do a deeper analysis of foreign aid” in the face of President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The proposed cuts of 30 percent or more are the product of an “America First” budget that frames the issue of foreign assistance as a choice between nation-building at home and nation-building abroad.

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