Opinions: U.S. Development Aid, Commitment To Women; R&D Partnerships And Development

War Should Not Be An Excuse For Development Aid

Once again, Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report has ranked Afghanistan, where one in 11 women die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, the worst place in the world to be a mother, which “is not surprising,” Ret. Army Col. John Agoglia, who served as director of the Counterinsurgency Training Center-Afghanistan in Kabul from 2008-2010, writes in a Politico opinion piece. “It’s difficult to build a stable democracy when health, education and opportunity indicators for women and children are so low. U.S. policymakers must remember: An investment in people that improves their chances to survive and progress is an investment in U.S. national security,” he says.

Using examples from Afghanistan and Iraq, where he also served, Agoglia states that communities that are supported and healthy are less likely to become involved in extremist movements. “Washington spent about $667 billion on defense last year – but only $17 billion on humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance,” he writes, asking, “How much more could we have accomplished if we had invested a lot more – and much earlier – in things like hospitals and schools and midwives and medicine for the women and children of Afghanistan and other developing countries?” He concludes, “It is clear these investments change lives and communities to the benefit of us all. We need not wait for war to act” (5/3).

Look To Product Development Partnerships To Enhance Health And Wealth

As policymakers look more to science, technology and innovation (ST&I) for solutions to help “achieve economic and human development in low- and middle-income countries … they should consider the enormous promise of global health research and development (R&D) – and the product development partnership (PDP) model in particular,” Seth Berkley, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, writes in a SciDev.Net opinion piece. More R&D in the detection, prevention and treatment of diseases can help “strengthen scientific and technological capacities and, over the longer term, help diversify local economies, create jobs, stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty,” he says. 

Berkley describes several examples of PDP models – collaborations among business, non-profit groups, and governments – before concluding, “Such investments and partnerships can help developing countries accelerate the search for new health tools, ensure researchers and policymakers can participate more directly in the global effort to combat diseases of poverty, and secure future access to new products by cultivating a sense of country ownership. This approach also builds local scientific capacity to absorb, use and develop new technologies,” and eventually “enhance both health and wealth in developing countries” (5/3).

Obama Administration Committed To Reproductive Health, Human Rights

“The Obama administration is strongly committed to achieving reproductive health and protecting human rights, both domestically and around the world,” according to a VOA News editorial. “Through the Global Health Initiative, the U.S. ‘aims to provide a package of integrated health services based on strong health systems that emphasize country ownership,” Margaret Pollack, director for Multilateral Coordination and External Relations at the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said at the 44th Session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development, the editorial notes.

“We will continue working closely with our counterparts worldwide – not only in the ministries of health, but with foreign ministers, defense ministers, finance ministers, prime ministers and presidents – to achieve our shared commitments to reproductive health and gender equality,” Pollack said, according to the editorial (5/1).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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