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Americans Say Maintain or Increase Funding for Global Health and Development, But Take Care of Problems at Home First in the Recession
Date:5/7/2009

%). Fewer Americans (25%) see promoting democracy as a top priority.

When it comes to determining how to spend U.S. dollars on improving health in developing countries, Americans say objective criteria of need should carry the most influence. Most people say that whether a problem affects children (69%) and how many people die each year because of it (60%) should be "very important" factors in setting aid priorities. Fewer cite reasons such as whether a country is friendly toward the U.S. (36%) or whether the aid would advance U.S. foreign policy interests (25%), although a strong majority (62%) say that assistance helps improve the U.S.'s image in the countries that receive it.

Along those lines, when asked what should be a "top priority" for U.S. spending on health in developing countries, Americans are most likely to say improving access to clean water (61%), increasing childhood immunizations against diseases like polio (61%), and reducing hunger and malnutrition (60%).

Many See Assistance As "Right Thing To Do," But Are Wary Of Corruption Abroad

When asked what the "most important" reason is for the U.S. to spend money on health in developing countries, nearly half (47%) say because it is "the right thing to do." Far fewer identify national security (11%) or diplomatic interests (8%) as the most important reason.

The poll also suggests that Americans have mixed views about how far money can go in creating better conditions abroad. About half the public (51%) says more spending from the U.S. and other countries "won't make much difference" in improving health for people in developing nations, while 40 percent say it "will lead to meaningful progress." The public is most likely to cite corruption (80%), widespread poverty (71%) and a lack of political leadership (66%) as barriers to making additional progress abroad.

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SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation
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