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Opinions: U.S. Foreign Aid; Malaria Eradication; Moving Haiti Forward; Health Care Financing

Time For U.S. To ‘Curtail Our Foreign Aid’

“At this critical time when we are concerned about our country’s financial well being it is imperative that we curtail our charity to others,” Bradley Blakeman, deputy assistant to former President George W. Bush and professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University, writes in a Fox News opinion piece calling for the U.S., which he says “has done more than its fair share for others since our birth as a nation,” to “curtail our foreign aid.”

“Now is the time for other nations to pick up the slack” and for “the world’s communities [to] help more and look to the U.S. less,” Blakeman writes, while listing “the latest public records of the top 10 countries that receive U.S. foreign aid” and how some of those countries spend the money. “We have an obligation as a world power, (that others look to for stability, security and assurance), to get healthy as soon as possible for our own well-being and others too. … A weak economic, political, national security America means a more dangerous and less secure world,” he concludes (12/20).

‘Rich Nations Need To Do More’ To Fight Malaria

Although the campaign to slash the number of malaria cases and deaths in half by 2010 “will fall short of meeting its original goals … the encouraging news is that, after so much wasted time, there has been enormous progress over the past three years in distributing the means to prevent and treat malaria and in bringing down death rates in many countries,” states a New York Times editorial.

The editorial attributes the “turn around” to the creation of a special U.N. envoy to coordinate campaigns to fight malaria, as well as a growth in the funds to support such efforts, and collaborations between private and public organizations, but notes, “there is still a lot more work to be done. … Given the hard economic times, international funding for the antimalaria campaign rose only slightly this year to $1.8 billion, far short of the $6 billion that the WHO says is needed. Rich nations need to do more” (12/19).

International Community Must Help Haiti Move Forward After Recent Elections

“With a cholera epidemic raging in Haiti, the United Nations recently issued an urgent appeal for $174 million to provide clean water, sanitation, food and medical treatment. As of this week, it had raised 25 percent of it,” according to a New York Times editorial, noting the struggles the country has faced as it attempts to recover from the January 2010 earthquake, including most recently the protests over the outcome of a November vote for president and Parliament. The editorial calls for the questions over the outcome of the election, which have “paralyz[ed] the country and further complicat[ed] relief efforts … to be resolved quickly and transparently.” 

“After the earthquake, the international community vowed that this time would be different for Haiti. It cannot walk away now. Outside experts who helped with the election need to help Haiti figure out a way forward. And wealthy nations need to send more money to help stem the cholera epidemic,” the editorial states (12/18).

‘Time Is Right To Focus On Making Health Care Financing More Efficient’

“Now that budgets are tighter than ever, the time is right to focus on making health care financing more efficient as well as identifying crucial gaps so resources can be directed where they are most needed. This is not just about telling impoverished governments to dig deeper into their pockets, but more importantly about asking them to spend more wisely,” journalist Priya Shetty writes in a SciDev.Net opinion piece that examines the WHO’s recent appeal for countries to improve access to health services.

“While donor countries should step up global funding, developing nations can also look for ways to increase their spending on health care,” Shetty writes before outlining several potential mechanisms for raising health funds. Ultimately, she writes, the source of the funding is less important than the money being “spent far more efficiently. … Policies that discourage overprescription of antibiotics, ensure that medicines are stored properly, or make it easier to buy generic drugs would all make drug procurement more efficient. Hospital systems need to be overhauled too, with resources allocated in a clear and transparent ways. … And ensuring better dialogue between donor and recipient countries would slash inefficiencies,” she concludes (12/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.