ASTMH Urges Congressional Support of Defense Department Malaria Programs
In June, Myron “Mike” Levine appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations to deliver a message on behalf of ASTMH about the need for increased funding to support malaria research activities conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense.
In his testimony, Dr. Levine, a past president of the Society, educated committee members about the connection between malaria and troop readiness. He also explained the role that the DOD plays in drug development and vaccine research and urged appropriators to consider the importance of these activities, not only as they relate to military needs but also because of their potential to safeguard U.S. citizens traveling abroad and improve global health.
“Because the U.S. military operates in so many tropical and developing regions on the globe, preventing or being able to promptly diagnose and treat tropical diseases is often critical to mission success,” explained Dr. Levine.
Military malaria researchers based at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) as well as the overseas military labs have seen an overall decrease in funding over the last ten years. ASTMH is asking Congress to increase DOD malaria funding from $27.8 million to $30 million in federal fiscal year 2009, with planned adjustments that would allow this appropriation to reach $76.6 million by FFY 2015.
The timeline for approval of next year’s federal budget remains uncertain, with some pundits predicting that final numbers may not be approved before the end of the current calendar year.
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