May 08,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – Mark Suzman
US President Donald Trump’s recently released 2018 budget blueprint proposes deep cuts in US foreign aid, prompting a discussion on the role of such spending in improving the health and wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable people.
This discussion is important, because, when it comes to reducing many of the world’s greatest inequities, aid matters as much as ever — and perhaps even more — for reasons that are not widely understood.
In the last 25 years, foreign-aid programmes have helped usher in an era of unprecedented progress in the developing world.
Child mortality and extreme poverty have been halved.
Innovative multilateral partnerships like the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — whose the US is the largest funder — have saved millions of lives, as they have reduced the burden of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been proud to collaborate with these initiatives in reducing the costs of vaccinations and other interventions, thereby boosting their measurable impact on global health.
Experience shows that health and development programmes pay enormous economic dividends. For every dollar invested in childhood immunisations, for example, developing countries realise $44 in economic benefits.
Yet most people are unaware of the tremendous progress that development aid has enabled.
In a recent survey of 56,409 people in 24 countries, only one in 100 knew that global poverty has been reduced by half.