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Foreign Aid Should Aim To Save Lives Today, Minimize Long-Term Consequences

Financial Times: There is a solution to the aid dilemma
Angus Deaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower professor of economics and international affairs, emeritus, at Princeton University

“…One of the greatest recent achievements of aid has been that so many are alive today who would be dead but for aid-funded antiretroviral therapies, as well as the many children whose lives have been saved by the use of insecticide-treated bed nets, and by reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Even when aid-funded provision reduces local responsibility, the issue becomes a trade-off between lives (certainly) saved today and lives (possibly) lost tomorrow. We should surely decide in favor of lives today, especially if we are careful to do what we can to minimize long-term negative consequences. My belief that we should follow this route has been strengthened in recent conversations with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In most countries, the Global Fund is able to exploit the synergy that comes from the fact that their drugs are supplied in clinics that double up for other purposes, such as maternal and child health, thus improving overall health outcomes beyond those immediately targeted. The Global Fund agrees that it would be better if countries were to fund their own drugs and health systems, and the organization has had considerable success in working towards country funding and away from international aid. This is a continuing process and it will take time for the Global Fund to close shop, which is its aim. But stopping today would cost many lives…” (8/2).

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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.