More Funding Needs to be Dedicated to Improving Health, Poverty in Africa, Jeffrey Sachs Says
The end of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's and Irish rock star Bono's trip to Africa should "mark the beginning of a new era in U.S. foreign policy leadership toward the world's poorest countries," Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Sachs says that Bono has "run the numbers" and come to the correct conclusion that the United States needs to provide about $2.5 billion a year for the international fight against HIV/AIDS. Many members of Congress in both parties have "reached the same conclusion as Bono" and are therefore supporting at least $500 million in supplemental emergency assistance to fight the disease in Africa. However, Sachs writes, O'Neill and the Bush administration have not yet reached this conclusion, instead contending that the problem "can be solved by using existing resources more effectively." Sachs states that he is "confident" that Bush will eventually come around to supporting increased aid because the "real answer ... is that Africa needs both trade and aid -- trade to promote private investment, and aid to fight disease, provide clean water and ensure universal education." With that in mind, President Bush "should ask O'Neill to prepare a longer-term plan for the U.S. and Europe to join Africa in the struggle for health and education," he says, noting that "if challenged to make such a plan on the basis of real evidence, [O'Neill] would soon report back to the president that the United States needs to provide $2.5 billion per year" for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "With such targeted assistance, we'd soon have a foreign policy for a country that aspires to lead the world away from death, despair and terror," Sachs concludes (Sachs, Wall Street Journal, 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.