Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its 2013 Survey of Americans on the US Role in Global Health. The survey reveals American public’s perception, knowledge and attitude about the role of the US in improving the health of those in developing countries. Overall the report shows that as the economy back home slowly stabilize and people’s bank accounts again fattened, more and more people are willing to spend more money in aid. SIX in TEN says that the country spends too little money on foreign health aid. Although this is an improvement from previous surveys, the fact that terrorism and national security still tops the list of importance to the public shows that there are still significant room for growth in foreign health aid.
When one talks of health issues, there are many. But the survey shows that the American public is very clear that when they are donating their money for foreign health aid, they want it to be spent on one of three categories: improving access to clean water, children’s health, and reducing hunger and malnutrition. Other categories such as preventing and treating HIV/AIDs, global pandemic diseases, building hospitals, treatment of specific diseases, and prevention of specific diseases, childbirth complications, and family planning are all important but does not have as much traction in public support in the US.
Even with two third of Americans in the survey suggesting that the US is spending too little in foreign health aid, when these same individuals were asked how much of the US total federal budget is spent answered between 10 to 28% which is an overestimation. The values suggest that an average US citizen does not know exactly how much the government is spending and on what topics the money are going into. On one hand, they think the government is spending too little while on the other, they overestimates the actual spending showing that American Public’s believe that foreign health aid from the US needs to be much much more.
Over all the report gives very detail analysis of each of the questions that were asked and the results show that foreign health aid has again slowly become important in the public’s view of how US should do foreign affairs.
The report can be found at http://kff.org/ with a post date of Nov 7th, 2013