Cancer disparities in the Federated States of Micronesia: Funding challenges of a developing nation in epidemiological transition
This article describes funding and other challenges to cancer control in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and examines funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) as a critical facet in implementation of the U.S. Compact of Free Association (COFA). As a health-relevant policy, COFA commits the United States to improve the health of FSM citizens and, specifically, allows the FSM to apply for U.S. federal health FOAs. Emerging research suggests discrepancies in the intent and implementation of COFA and indicates that the capacity of the FSM to secure U.S. health funding may be at least partially hindered by the ways in which FOAs are structured. Current cancer-related FOAs were identified to evaluate their relevance to the FSM. Eligibility requirements of all FOAs were systematically reviewed and compared with FSM infrastructural and human resources. Findings indicate that most FOAs have requirements more likely to be met in fully developed health service entities. Such requirements disadvantage the FSM when competed with the relatively more resource-rich U.S. states and health services systems. This situation predisposes the FSM to increased risk of disparate cancer outcomes. Highlighted is the need for distributive justice and specific efforts that enhance the health services infrastructure in the FSM and increase opportunities for resource-appropriate interventions. Findings provide considerations for those in international social welfare, public health, and other disciplines interested in the advancement of global health partnerships to eliminate cancer disparities in underresourced nations.