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Opinions: NCDs Must Be Tackled Worldwide; Myths Surround Usefulness Of Foreign Aid

NCDs Are A Global Problem That Must Be Tackled

Jake Marcus, a post-bachelor fellow at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, examines why non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have been a neglected part of global health care in a New Republic opinion piece. “Part of the problem is the outdated worldview that NCDs are ‘diseases of affluence,’ primarily affecting rich countries that have conquered infectious disease with improved sanitation, mass vaccinations, and better medical care,” he writes. “In reality, many developing countries today suffer from the double burden of infectious diseases and NCDs,” according to Marcus, who outlines what it would take to raise the profile of NCDs in the developing world.

“Still, the fact remains that it will be an enormous uphill struggle to overcome the many political and practical challenges facing a movement to tackle NCDs in the developing world. The Moscow meeting and what comes out of it will be the world’s best shot to date. Given the potential impact of such a movement, we can only hope that policymakers beat the odds,” he concludes (4/29).

Countries Committed To Change Benefit From U.S. Foreign Aid

In a Washington Post opinion piece, John Norris, executive director of the sustainable security program at the Center for American Progress, asks, “What’s the point of U.S. foreign aid, and does it do any good?” before outlining five misconceptions about foreign assistance.

Norris says the first myth is that “Republicans hate foreign aid.” He states that “every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has been a staunch advocate for foreign aid programs.” Second, he addresses the belief that foreign aid is “a budget buster,” but says the approximately one percent of the budget that goes to international assistance programs is “loose change” when “[c]ompared with our military and entitlement budgets.” He goes on to address the misconceptions that “[w]e give aid so countries will do as we say,” foreign governments waste U.S. aid, and no countries ever make reforms that lead to “lasting growth.” The “most enduring truth about foreign aid” is “[t]hough it probably won’t do more than blunt the suffering in some places, it can make a lasting difference in countries committed to change,” Norris writes, concluding, “Sure, it’s a bet. But it doesn’t have to be a long shot” (4/28).