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June 4, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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The impact of foreign aid on global health

Get those kids in school

Thanks for Jeff Sachs’ op-ed [“Foreign aid works, saving millions of lives,” Opinion, June 3].

I am always surprised at how some people claim that our foreign-aid money is a waste. So, we got a great benefit by spending $1 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Exactly what, other than the death of thousands of young Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?

Foreign aid is an incredibly small fraction of that sum. While we spend 60 percent of our national budget on the defense budget, nuclear arms and veterans, we spend less than 1 percent on development foreign aid — aid that will help make it more likely that every kid will have a chance for a fifth birthday. Such a small investment, such a huge result!

Get those kids in school, and there is real hope and promise created. As a parent, this seems like a powerful investment to me.

— Bob Dickerson, Seattle

Preserve worthwhile funding

Regarding Jeffrey Sachs’ op-ed on foreign aid: People don’t know that donor countries, including the wealthiest of the G-20, are providing 0.3 percent of their combined income in international development aid (the U.S. being among the lowest provider on this list!).

In the past 30 years, globally, the number of children under 5 dying every year has been cut in half. But 20,000 children still die every year from treatable and preventable diseases.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria operates with just a 4.8 percent overhead and has achieved impressive results, in spite of its inadequate funding.

The World Bank has estimated that TB has caused the gross domestic product in some countries to fall as much as 7 percent. Providing $20 mosquito bed nets has reduced malaria in some areas by 50 to 70 percent. About 50 percent of our exports are purchased by developing countries. Reducing global disease and poverty is in our best interest!

This month, the U.S., India and Ethiopia are co-hosting a “Call to Action” to end preventable child death in one generation. Congress should preserve funding for global child health and other aid programs, which take far less than 1 percent of our federal budget.

— Donna Schindler Munro, Bremerton

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