La ayuda sirve

NUEVA YORK – Los críticos de la ayuda extranjera se equivocan. Una creciente oleada de datos demuestra que las tasas de mortalidad en muchos países pobres están cayendo marcadamente, y que los programas respaldados por la ayuda extranjera destinados a ofrecer atención sanitaria desempeñaron un papel importante. La ayuda funciona; salva vidas.

Uno de los estudios más recientes, a cargo de Gabriel Demombynes y Sofia Trommlerova, demuestra que la mortalidad infantil de Kenia (muertes antes de cumplirse un año de vida) decayó en los últimos años, y lo atribuye, en gran medida, al uso masivo de mosquiteros para cama destinados a combatir la malaria. Estos hallazgos coinciden un importante estudio de las tasas de mortalidad causada por la malaria realizado por Chris Murray y otros, que de la misma manera determinó una caída significativa y rápida de las muertes ocasionadas por la malaria después de 2004 en el África subsahariana, como resultado de las medidas de control de la malaria respaldadas por la ayuda extranjera.

Volvamos el reloj atrás una docena de años. En 2000, África luchaba contra tres epidemias importantes. El sida mataba más de dos millones de personas por año, y se propagaba rápidamente. La malaria estaba en aumento, debido a la creciente resistencia del parásito a la medicina convencional en ese momento. La tuberculosis también crecía, en parte como resultado de la epidemia del sida y en parte por la aparición de una tuberculosis resistente a la droga. Por otro lado, cientos de miles de mujeres morían al dar a luz cada año, porque no tenían acceso a partos seguros en una clínica u hospital, o a ayuda de emergencia cuando la necesitaban.

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