May 5, 2009 / 7:07 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Obama unveils $63 billion global health initiative

(Adds details)

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a $63 billion, six-year health initiative to help people in the world’s poorest countries, most of it to bolster existing programs.

“We cannot simply confront individual preventable illnesses in isolation. The world is interconnected, and that demands an integrated approach to global health,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama will request the money in his budget for the 2010 fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. The White House has already released the main elements of that budget, but plans to offer greater details on Thursday.

The money will go toward efforts to fight AIDS, tropical diseases and other illness and to help improve maternal health. The initiative will be aimed at addressing “some of the biggest global health challenges,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew.

The program to combat AIDS and malaria which is known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and was created in the Bush administration, would get $51 billion over the six years.

The other $12 billion would be channeled to new programs to fight tropical disease and other health problems. (Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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