New York Times Editorial Urges Wealthy Nations to Spend Money on Improving Health Worldwide
"It is hard to imagine anything less wasteful than the health spending recommended" in a recent report by the World Health Organization that called for wealthy nations to donate an additional $38 billion per year to global health spending by 2015, a New York Times editorial states (New York Times, 1/3). The WHO report, which was released last month, stated that eight million lives could be saved and $186 billion in world income now lost to illness could be recovered each year if the world's nations donated a total $101 billion annually for medical research and treatments for infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. The report estimated that $66 billion in new money is needed each year to improve international health; $38 billion of this total should come from industrialized countries, while $28 billion could be donated by developing nations (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/21/01). The New York Times editorial stresses the importance of health on economic stability, noting that diseases such as HIV result in higher infant mortality, decreased tourism and investment and shorter lifespans for workers. According to the WHO report, developing nations that receive more money to spend on health care would see economic gains of "at least $360 billion a year," a figure that makes a "compelling argument" for increased health spending by wealthy and poorer countries, the editorial says. But U.S. response to the report's recommendations has been "skeptical," and "one of the biggest obstacles to reaching the study's goals is changing the American view of foreign aid," the editorial states. The editorial says that donating money to improve health in developing nations would have economic payoffs for the United States and other wealthy countries because a "stable third world would experience fewer conflicts and disasters, and would eventually spend more money buying American exports." But the editorial concludes that "[t]he chance to save lives and reduce poverty should be incentive enough" (New York Times, 1/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.