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Washington Post Examines Future Of USAID, Foreign Policy Reports Farmer No Longer Under Consideration For Agency Top Spot

USAID, “the main U.S. foreign aid agency is in limbo, entering its seventh month without a permanent director despite pledges by the Obama administration to expand development assistance and improve its effectiveness in poor countries,” the Washington Post reports in an article examining the agency’s prospects and concerns that changes could reduce its clout. “While [Secretary of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton has championed additional personnel for USAID, aid groups worry that the once-autonomous agency could be swallowed up in the State Department, with long-term development goals losing out to short-term political aims,” the Washington Post writes.  The article includes comments from development experts and administration officials on USAID’s future.

According to the Washington Post, some development experts believe the top candidate for heading up USAID “in recent weeks appeared to be Paul Farmer, a charismatic doctor who has built hospitals for the poor in Haiti, Rwanda and other countries (Sheridan, 8/5). However, Foreign Policy’s blog, “The Cable,” reports that “[s]everal Hill and Washington foreign policy hands” are saying that Paul Farmer, the cofounder of Partner in Health, is no longer being considered to lead USAID. The decision “was said to have been made at the White House,” according to the blog.

“Given his resume … [working] to bring health care to the poor in Haiti, Peru and elsewhere,” Farmer was “said by an associate and an administration official to have been daunted by the vetting paperwork for the prospective job, including a form requiring him to list every foreigner he had come into contact with the past several years. But it wasn’t clear if Farmer ran into a snag clearing the vet, grew disillusioned with the prospective job over the process, or rather, was a victim of the complaints about the vetting process,” the blog writes (Rozen, 8/4).