National Budgets Enable Policy – or not

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As we start the new series of blog postings for 2011 session of Social and Behavioral Foundations (SBF) of Primary Health Care we cannot ignore the struggles going on in the United States Congress over the budget, the debt ceiling and other fiscal matters.

Our blogs focus around policy issues, and no policy can become effectively implemented without some enabling funding.  All manner of social and health policies and programs, both domestic and international, are at risk from the wranglings of the US Congress.

The US is not alone in this crisis.  European governments are facing a similar call for austerity. The Euro as a currency is under threat.

In the developing world, the financial crises of the industrialized countries has strong bearing on the fate of major disease control efforts ranging from GFATM to GAVI.  When we look closely, we realize that many countries battling these diseases could not or are not doing so with much of their own money.  In some cases, international assistance for health and development leads to budgetary shifting – taking funds that would have been used for health and realigning them to other ministries and programs.

No matter what country we look at, we see the strong link between legislative policy intentions and budgetary allocations that can make those policies a reality. We look forward to reading the challenging policy issues that SBF course members raise in this year’s blogs.

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