To the editor:

As a retired pediatrician living in this community for the last 30 years, I know how seriously we take our responsibilities for the well-being of our neighbors. Now, at this time of heightened concern locally and globally, we need to broaden that responsibility. The risks we all face right now are only further magnified for people in poverty or people cut off from health services.

Strong, resilient health systems around the world become even more important, and even more endangered, in a crisis. Whether it's coronavirus or other ongoing global health emergencies, like tuberculosis or malnutrition, we need a strong global response which honors the needs and human rights of people in poverty.

We have great examples in multilateral partnerships like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. We cannot leave those isolated by stigma, geography, or poverty on the sidelines.

Congress must prioritize global health systems, alongside the domestic response, as we move forward together. People who are disenfranchised must not bear the brunt of this pandemic. We must move forward in hope and solidarity.

Already, Congressman Neal and Senators Warren and Markey have stepped forward to sign on to the letters supporting full funding for The Global Fund. Please encourage them to continue by supporting funding of Gavi and Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition resolutions.

By joining together as global citizens we can maintain our humanity.

Leslye Heilig, M.D.,

Great Barrington