USAID's Malaria Program Wasteful
Letter to the Editor

RE: "America battles malaria every day," April 25

Kent Hill's response to Roger Bate's critique of USAID efforts to fight malaria contained a number of misleading statements and distortions of fact.

Hill claims that "USAID has a comprehensive prevention and treatment strategy" for malaria. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The agency spends not one dime on artemisinin combination therapy, the only effective treatment for malaria in Africa. For prevention, it spent exactly one-tenth of 1 percent of its $80 million budget in 2004 on the kind of insecticide spraying programs that eliminated malaria from this country and have proven successful in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia. All in all, USAID allocated only 5 percent of its malaria funds to interventions that save lives.

What does the Agency spend the rest of its money on? Advice. Advice from well paid American consultants who fly around the globe and stay in fancy hotels while impoverished children continue to die for want of proper medicine.

In fact, as Dr. Bate and I document in our recently released paper, the vast majority of USAID's "development funds" never leave the U.S. Instead, the money goes to Beltway contractors, many of which are run by former Agency employees, who squander it on high salaries and benefits.

The rest of Mr. Hill's "defense" consists of similar misrepresentations of USAID's actions. Unfortunately, his blatant attempt at PR spin comes as no surprise. Given the culture of secrecy and deception at USAID, we've come to expect nothing less.

Ben Schwab is a research assistant at AEI.

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