O’Neill Says United States Has ‘Duty’ to Assist African Development, Including HIV/AIDS Initiatives
Speaking yesterday at Georgetown University, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who recently returned form a 12-day tour of Africa with Irish rock star Bono, said that the United States has a "moral duty" to assist developing nations in Africa in dealing with problems such as HIV/AIDS and poverty when local leaders are "committed to solving problems," the Boston Globe reports. "[W]ith leadership -- honest, accountable and committed to progress -- everything is possible. Without leadership, nothing is possible. In the right environment focused on growth, enterprise and human development, aid works. Knowing that it can work, we have a moral imperative to demand as much," he said (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 6/6). O'Neill, speaking on the 55th anniversary of General George Marshall's speech setting forth a redevelopment plan for Europe after World War II, noted that a "comparable effort" to the Marshall Plan should be directed at providing clean water, improving primary education and combatting HIV/AIDS in Africa (Toedtman, Newsday, 6/6). "[P]erhaps the most critical area for investment in people is health care," he said, adding, "Nowhere is this more urgent, and more heartbreaking, than in the struggle against AIDS." He detailed how in South Africa he "saw mothers with AIDS caring for babies with AIDS, even when proven, inexpensive drugs are available to stop transmission between mother and child" (Boston Globe, 6/6). O'Neill "stopped short" of making any policy recommendations based on his trip, which took him to Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia (Washington Post, 6/6). He repeated his often criticized position that "domestic entrepreneurship as well as trade and foreign investment are far more important for economic growth than official aid" (Somerville, Reuters/Detroit Free Press, 6/6). O'Neill also appeared to "soften" the call he made during the trip for health resources to be "prioritized towards treatment of HIV/AIDS," saying that "[p]revention of further HIV contagion is the utmost priority, especially to keep the next generation of newborns free from the disease" (Beattie, Financial Times, 6/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.