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Newseum Panel Stresses Vital Links between US Economy and Foreign Development

Dr. Halima Mwenesi, Senior Health Advisor and MAPS Project Director, spoke on a panel on Monday, October 3rd at the "Power of 1%" Speaker Series, hosted at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The series highlighted the importance of US investments in the developing world, which accounts for about 1 percent of the total US GDP. The series examined the incredible return on investment of US development efforts in global health and how it contributes to building new markets for more products, preventing the proliferation of disease across borders, and ensuring better health for some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

Dr. Mwenesi was a guest speaker on the panel discussing the economic advantages to the US of investments in global health, specifically malaria and infectious diseases, in the developing world.

"It's a win-win," said Dr. Mwenesi. "Each year, Africa looses $12 billion of its GDP to the scourge of malaria, which is preventable and treatable. It's also the lead cause of school and work absenteeism. Production in every sector is affected by this, as is purchasing power. Many people do not realize that 85% of exports from the US go to the developing world. Strong stable economies in the developing world equate to a stronger economy in the US."

According to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), malaria cases and deaths have been cut by 50% in Africa alone, with an estimated 1.1 million lives saved by US-funded interventions. Click here for more RBM results.

"This means that lives and resources have been freed of malaria - children and workers are able to stay at school and work and women are able to deliver healthy babies. All of this equals stronger economies," remarked Dr. Mwenesi. "The American public should be proud."

The three part series was moderated by Mike Gerson, Washington Post and ONE Senior Advisor. Additional featured speakers included Otta Chabikuli, FHI 360 Country Director (Nigeria); Amie Batson of USAID; and Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer of the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI).

Posted October 2011