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As Trump announces famine aid, relief funds face big cuts

In this May 24, 2017, photo, Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump at the Vatican. When Trump met Pope Francis, the U.S. leader renewed a commitment to fighting global famine and proudly announced a new multimillion-dollar American aid contribution to four African nations in crisis. Left unsaid by the president or the White House: His proposal to slash such funds by more than 40 percent in the next fiscal year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)

In 2002, at the height of the AIDS crisis, the world came together to fight back by creating the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Global Fund remains effective because instead of dictating to countries, it partners with civil society organizations on the front lines of these epidemics and is ultimately able to reach marginalized communities that might otherwise be overlooked. This international partnership has helped save 27 million lives since 2002.

Yet we cannot consider the issue solved. Growing drug resistance, funding shortfalls and wavering political commitment are hindering the progress in the fight against these deadly diseases. The Global Fund has a plan to support countries to save 16 million lives over the next three years, but this can only be made possible with our continued support. The U.S. must rise to its responsibility in this.

It’s time for Congress and President Donald Trump to continue their strong support for the Global Fund by recommitting to provide at least one-third of the $14 billion that will be asked for in October. Science shows that we can end the global emergencies caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but this can be accomplished only if we maintain the political will to do so.

Aashish Allu • Ballwin