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					Why it is important for the United States to Invest in Foreign Aid for Malaria Control

Amid serious budget crisis, there is a current debate on whether the U.S. should cut or halt foreign
aid. Yet, many African, Asian, European, and Latino countries are faced with severe poverty, lethal
diseases like AIDS and Malaria, over-population, under-education, environmental degradation, and
collapsing public infrastructures.

Those who argue that the U.S. should cut foreign aid say spending more on foreign aid will not solve
development problems because they have persisted and even worsened despite over 50 years of
foreign assistance. But, foreign aid is often spent fruitlessly and needy countries do need help with
managing aid packages. Nonetheless, these problems are a compelling proof that the U.S. should
increase foreign aid budgets and help or empower beneficiaries to manage aid effectively. There are
other important reasons why the U.S. should continue to invest in foreign aid.

Foreign aid money comes from taxes and a recent poll reported by The Internationalist shows that
74% of U.S. citizens support foreign aid especially that which is targeted to poverty alleviation and
humanitarian missions including food aid and medical assistance; and 62% favored aid to needy
countries to develop their economies. Bill Gates who has invested heavily in poverty alleviation and
AIDS and malaria control asked congress not to cut foreign aid as it offers life-saving resources for
the poor. U.S. foreign aid has achieved a lot though.

The U.S. spends well below 1% of its budget on foreign aid but it significantly improves the quality
of life in poor countries and in turn offers socio-economic opportunities to the U.S. Bread for the
World noted that foreign aid feeds 46.5 million of the world's most vulnerable people and children
through P.L. 480 Food Aid and 5 million schoolchildren through the McGovern-Dole School Feeding
Program; prevents 114,000 infants from being born with HIV; saves 3 million lives through USAID's
immunization programs; offered counseling to 33 million HIV-positive people since 2004 and safe
drinking water sources to 1.3 billion people over the last decade.

Thanks to collective efforts of the U.S., national governments, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria and other donors and organizations, there is an impressive scale up of malaria prevention
(e.g. Insecticide-Treated Net- ITN ownership and use), proper diagnosis and treatment measures
leading to remarkable improvements in malaria-specific indicators in all PMI-supported countries
since 2005. Across the 15 original PMI focus countries, the percentage of families owning at least
one ITN increased from less than 10% to over 50%. A cut in foreign aid will waste these vital gains.

Again, with globalization and as countries become more interdependent, the U.S. needs foreign aid
programs as a decisive component of a much needed global development policy and active global
leadership. These programs are imperative to U.S. national interests and values, global stability,
economic opportunities and increased U.S. voice and reach.

Also, dollar for dollar, the ratio of foreign aid to military spending is 1:36. In many cases, foreign aid
is even more effective at achieving military goals than military action. If the U.S. cuts foreign aid,
countries benefiting from aid packages would get poorer leading to sharp increase in likelihood of
violent conflict and crime. Instead of cutting foreign aid, military funding should be reduced as they
are failing yet causing more political and socio-economic problems that can be solved by diplomatic
missions and development programs like malaria control.

Finally, the U.S. can’t do without foreign aid. But should propose cuts occur the U.S. would be out of
the global network and lose its leadership and influence. As the U.S. economy is improving, they
should remain generous and in solidarity with other countries. U.S. foreign aid supports economic
growth, protects vulnerable people from malaria and other diseases and curtails desperation that
may lead to violence. This means the U.S. and other countries should include foreign aid in their
global foreign policies even if they are broke. U.S. aid provides millions with food, health, education,
and livelihood and in return benefits from better global leadership and economic opportunities.
Americans have not singled out foreign aid for budget cuts thus the U.S. government should help the
poor. The 0.12% of GDP used for foreign aid will not cripple the U.S. economy especially as it is
improving. And well targeted foreign aid (e.g. for malaria eradication) is a better legacy because it
promotes human dignity worldwide. Who knows, the U.S. might one day need foreign assistance.


About the Author
Eric Ndofor is a Malaria Griot with Malaria No More Policy Center in Washington, D.C., USA. He is currently
working on malaria advocacy and communication with the aim of promoting more global interest and action on
malaria under the recent scaling up of malaria control efforts by multinationals and donors notably the Global
Fund. He has been involved in malaria control activities since 2006 with the National Malaria Control Program
in NW Cameroon, The Malaria and other Communicable Diseases Program at PAHO-WHO in Washington, D.C. as
intern and the Malaria Griots Project with ONE and Malaria No More in Washington, D.C. Specifically he has
been working on improving the quality of malaria diagnosis and IVM- integrated vector management involving
long-lasting insecticide treat nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) to prevent malaria transmission to
humans.

Eric Ndofor
Malaria Griot
Malaria Griots Project with ONE | Malaria No More Policy Center
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1 571 233 5974
e-mail: ericndofor@yahoo.fr
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=103745737&trk=tab_pro

				
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posted:10/21/2012
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Description: Impact of cuts in development aid on the USA and other countries