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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 30 maggio 2012 alle ore 14:34.


Donor aid did start to rise sharply as a result of all of these efforts. In 1995, total aid for health care was around . This inadequate level then crept up slowly, to $10.5 billion by 2000. By 2005, however, annual aid for health had jumped another $5.9 billion, and by 2010, the total had grown by another $10.5 billion, to reach $26.9 billion for the year.

The expanded funding allowed major campaigns against AIDS, TB, and malaria; a major scaling up of safe childbirth; and increased vaccine coverage, including the near-eradication of polio. Many innovative public-health techniques were developed and adopted. With one billion people living in high-income countries, total aid in 2010 amounted to around $27 per person in the donor countries – a modest sum for them, but a life-saving one for the world’s poorest people.

The public-health successes can now be seen on many fronts. Around 12 million children under five years old died in 1990. By 2010, this number had declined to around 7.6 million – still far too high, but definitely an historic improvement. Malaria deaths in children in Africa were cut from a peak of around one million in 2004 to around 700,000 by 2010, and, worldwide, deaths of pregnant women declined by almost half between 1990 and 2010, from an estimated 543,000 to 287,000.

Another $10-15 billion in annual aid (that is, roughly $10-15 more per person in the high-income world), bringing total aid to around $40 billion per year, would enable still greater progress to be made in the coming years. The MDGs for health could be achieved even in many of the world’s poorest countries.

Unfortunately, at every step during the past decade – and still today – a chorus of aid skeptics has argued against the needed help. They have repeatedly claimed that aid does not work; that the funds will simply be wasted; that anti-malaria bed nets cannot be given to the poor, since the poor won’t use them; that the poor will not take anti-AIDS medicines properly; and so on and so forth. Their attacks have been relentless (I’ve faced my share).

The opponents of aid are not merely wrong. Their vocal antagonism still threatens the funding that is needed to get the job done, to cut child and maternal deaths by enough to meet the MDGs by 2015 in the poorest countries, and to continue after that to ensure that all people everywhere finally have access to basic health services.

A decade of significant progress in health outcomes has proved the skeptics wrong. Aid for health care works – and works magnificently – to save and improve lives. Let us continue to support these life-saving programs, which uphold the dignity and well-being of all people on the planet.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2012.www.project-syndicate.orgFor a podcast of this commentary in English, please use this link:


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