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Opinions: U.S. Aid To Pakistan; MDGs; GHI And Global Fund

U.S. Aid Mostly ‘Invisible To Pakistanis’

“The U.S. military has been working hard to provide flood assistance, but most of that is invisible to Pakistanis,” David Ignatius writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. The article examines the views of Pakistani flood victims, including criticism of their own government’s response: “And what has the Pakistani government done to help relieve the misery? When I asked the elders gathered in the tent city, there was a chorus of shouts that the government had done nothing. … It’s apparently similar across Pakistan, where more than 20 million people have been affected by the flooding, and the government response has been weak and disorganized.”

Ignatius continues that the Pakistani people he spoke to “read about American drone attacks but not about helicopters bringing food supplies. That lack of recognition upsets U.S. officials, but they haven’t been able to change it. On a day’s tour of the northern flood zone, I saw posters for Turkish, British and other European relief groups, but not one sign of American help. That’s a missed opportunity. These people still need help desperately, and they will remember those who visibly provided it” (9/29).

Abandon ‘Pie-In-The-Sky’ MDGs For Proven Solutions

At last week’s Millennium Development Goals summit, “there was a lot of noise about rich countries’ failure to attain the” MDGs, writes Marc Bellemare, assistant professor at Duke University, in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. “I believe it’s time for policymakers to stop wasting their time with the pie-in-the-sky Millennium Development Goals. While the intentions behind them are noble, the goals are all talk,” he writes.

Instead, policymakers should “focus on humble, incremental policy objectives” such as treating intestinal parasites in children to increase school attendance and educating poor mothers. The author also discusses his own research “on agriculture in Madagascar and micro-insurance in Mali.” Implementing policies with a proven track record, he writes, “will help alleviate poverty and make better use of donor nations’ funds” (9/28).

Obama Should Boost U.S. Global Fund Commitment To $6B Over Three Years

A Houston Chronicle editorial highlights the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writing that it “shows that success [in Africa] is not impossible,” and contributes to “nation building.” The editorial discusses the success of a Global Fund sponsored program that distributes antiretroviral drugs in Malawi, where “the [HIV/AIDS] situation has become far better.”

The editorial continues, “[i]nstead of imposing a cookie-cutter pattern on wildly different countries, the fund requests proposals for disease-fighting programs, then awards continuing grants based on results.” The authors call on President Obama to allocate “$2 billion a year, for three years – to the Global Fund” from the Global Health Initiative (9/28).

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