Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Americans Follow Their Money"

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a commitment made on the part of President George Bush to increase funding for the prevention and treatment of malaria worldwide by over 1.2 billion dollars over a five year period.

I thought this was a generous use of our national resources, but was hardly surprised to hear more than a hint of resentment regarding the appropriation of these funds from those working in the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP).

It was a slight ironic situation, sitting at the NMCP across the desk from a Database Manager, listening to his impression of the PMI.

“Americans always follow their money. That is how your country works. You make promises, but then you send consultants and there are strings attached; we purchase primarily American products. Of the 12 million dollars a year that Liberia receives from the PMI, 3/4s of that goes right back to the US – buying supplies, paying for salaries, things like that.”

I felt like I had walked into the pages of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” – without the glitz and glamour. I’d been working with a man from NMCP to pull together the PSM Plan for Round 7 of the Global Fund Grant. I’d waited an hour for our meeting to start (due, in large part, to burgeoning traffic in the downtown area) and my patience was relatively thin.

“Well, even three million is start. Let’s look through this budget and see what we’re missing for the grant.”

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