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Investment In USAID Has Saved Millions Of Lives, Is Critical For U.S. Security

In this Politico opinion piece, Brian Atwood and colleagues, all former USAID administrators in previous Democratic or Republican administrations and current advisers to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, write, “Over [the last] half-century, USAID has had an extraordinary record of accomplishment. Using less than one percent of the U.S. budget annually, the American people have demonstrated their deepest values through USAID programs, saving tens of millions of lives worldwide with immunization programs, oral rehydration therapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS and work on other diseases.” They add, “Because of the efforts of the American people, more than one billion people now have safe drinking water, smallpox has been eradicated and tens of millions have been saved through USAID’s famine relief efforts.”

They continue, “Our investment in development has been critical to U.S. national security. The greatest threats we face today are from disintegrating and failed states and communities. Foreign assistance is a crucial instrument of national power to combat this.” The authors conclude, “Just like 50 years ago, we find ourselves in a seminal moment of crisis and opportunity. But the difference today is we know how to implement successful, effective development programs that make a difference” (11/2).

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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.