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Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on The State Department and the U.S. Global Health Initiative: Saving Lives and Promoting Security

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 16, 2012


"GHI...represents a new approach, informed by new thinking and aimed at a new goal: To save the greatest possible number of lives, both by increasing our existing health programs and by building upon them to help countries develop their own capacity to improve the health of their own people."

- Secretary of State,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Global Health Initiative (GHI), announced by President Barack Obama in 2009, is challenging the world to come together to build health services and capacity in developing countries. GHI is an integrated, coordinated and results-driven approach to global health; it brings together disease-specific programs to ensure more unified global health investments.

Despite the constrained fiscal environment, the Administration remains committed to the long-term goals of GHI. Health continues to be made a priority, accounting for 25 percent of the United State's foreign assistance budget, which makes the United States the largest donor in the world for the sector. The GHI was envisioned to include funding from fiscal years (FY) 2009-2014. To date, the GHI has been appropriated funding for FY 2009-2012 and is already making significant progress in each health area.

GHI in Action

Photo showing a Kashmiri health worker administering polio drops to a tourist child on the bank of the Dal Lake in Srinagar, India, April 15, 2012.

A Kashmiri health worker administers polio drops to a tourist child on the bank of the Dal Lake in Srinagar, India, April 15, 2012. @AP Image

The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to coordinate and oversee the U.S. global response to HIV/AIDS. Reporting directly to the Secretary of State, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, among other efforts, leads the U.S. Government's international HIV/AIDS efforts, including the coordination of interagency teams.

Interagency teams - with representatives from all relevant U.S. Government agencies - implement coordinated GHI country strategies. Each strategy, developed in close collaboration with the host country and its national health plan, serves as a message that the U.S. embassy can take to local health ministries and other stakeholders. The interagency planning process has helped country teams reduce programming redundancies and allocate resources more strategically. To date, 42 countries have or soon will complete GHI country strategies. Details on the work being done are on the GHI website -

GHI Principles

Based on global principles for effective development, GHI uses seven principles throughout U.S. global health programming. These principles ensure that GHI programs achieve positive change and also contribute to sustainable outcomes. They include:

  • Focus on women, girls and gender equality
  • Encourage country ownership and invest in country-led plans
  • Build sustainability through the strengthening of health systems
  • Strengthen and leverage key multilateral organizations, global health partnerships, and private sector engagement
  • Increase impact through strategic coordination and integration
  • Improve metrics, monitoring, and evaluation
  • Promote research and innovation to identify what works

Health Targets

"Each strategy, developed in close collaboration with the host country and its national health plan, serves as a message that the U.S. embassy can take to local health ministries and other stakeholders."

GHI launched eight global health targets that rallied the whole U.S. Government around a set of common goals. The combined efforts of all the U.S. global health agencies have resulted in strong progress in the following areas:

  1. HIV/AIDS: Through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), support the prevention of more than 12 million new HIV infections; provide direct support for more than 6 million people in treatment; and support care for more than 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
  2. Malaria: Through the President's Malaria Initiative, halve the prevalence of malaria for 450 million people, representing 70 percent of the at-risk population in Africa. Expand malaria efforts to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  3. Tuberculosis (TB): Contribute to the treatment of at least 2.6 million new TB cases and 57,200 multi-drug resistant cases of TB.
  4. Maternal Health: Reduce maternal mortality by 30 percent across assisted countries.
  5. Child Health: Reduce younger than age-five mortality rates by 35 percent across assisted countries.
  6. Nutrition: Reduce child under nutrition by 30 percent across assisted countries in conjunction with the President's Feed the Future Initiative.
  7. Family Planning and Reproductive Health: Prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies. Reach a modern contraceptive use rate of 35 percent on average across assisted countries and reduce to 20 percent the proportion of women aged 18-24 who give birth for the first time before age 18.
  8. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): Reduce by 50 percent the prevalence of seven NTDs among 70 percent of the affected population, contributing to: the elimination of onchocerciasis in Latin America; lymphatic filariasis globally; blinding trachoma; and leprosy.


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