Paul Lachine

Development Aid in Five Easy Steps

The rich world says that it lacks the money to do more to provide the development assistance that could save millions of lives each year in impoverished countries. But what rich countries lack is imagination, not resources.

NEW YORK ­­– Every country, rich and poor, should ensure universal coverage of primary health care, including safe childbirth, nutrition, vaccines, malaria control, and clinical services. Each year, nearly nine million children die of conditions that could be prevented or treated, and nearly 400,000 women die because of complications during pregnancy.

Almost all of these deaths are in the world’s poorest countries. Ending these deaths would not only reduce suffering, but would also unleash economic prosperity in impoverished and unstable societies. 

The greatest barrier to doing so is that the poorest countries can’t afford universal primary health care, even though the cost per person is very low. Using immunizations, modern medicines, state-of-the-art diagnostics, mobile phones, and other new technologies, universal primary health care is now highly effective and very inexpensive, costing around $54 per person per year in the poorest countries.

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