I was born in 1950. It was a favored time to be an American. As soon as I was old enough to understand that all countries were not the same, I realized how lucky I was to be an American citizen. Millions of people wanted to come to America. Not many wanted to leave. I was proud to be an American. I knew our military was powerful and existed to preserve the peace. I knew our standard of living was the envy of the world. I was inspired by the space race and what it demonstrated about American ingenuity. I thought government worked and like most people in the 60’s and 70’s I approved of the job Congress was doing. For these reasons and more I was proud to be an American but I was most proud of our goodness and generosity. Our country stood for freedom and human rights. When another country suffered a natural disaster, the United States was the first one there to lend a hand. After world War II, we didn’t punish Germany and Japan. We rebuilt them. Helping other countries was not only the right thing to do it was the smart thing to do. A world with less disease, poverty and conflict was good for everyone.
I am not naïve. I know the United States is not perfect and our history is sorely blemished. But many of our struggles have also made us stronger. Hope and our perseverance to do what is right, at home and abroad, have been our country’s more admirable traits.
The American people are almost universal in their support of foreign aid. While they support providing aid they think it should be reduced in amount. Many believe about 25% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid and they think 10% is a more appropriate amount. Actually, foreign aid accounts for less than 1% of the federal budget. Foreign aid has decreased for the past 50 years and now takes only 0.17% of GDP. On that basis, the richest country in the world ranks 21st in giving.
I am telling you this because President Trump has proposed a budget that cuts foreign aid by 31%. I don’t think this is wise, necessary, or in keeping with the character of the American people. I don’t know where the cuts will fall but I fear for the world’s most vulnerable women. I also fear that Haiti will not be spared from the consequences. Haiti has been making progress the last few years but the country is very fragile. It wouldn’t take much to erase the gains.
Our programs in Haiti try to fill some of the gaps in maternity care that exist across the country. With less US aid, those gaps will grow. It is heartbreaking to think that people who have so little may soon have even less. Midwives For Haiti must continue to reach the most vulnerable women in Haiti to provide prenatal care. It is life-saving. I’ve seen it. I’ve worked along-side our midwives. Many of you have done the same and share my feelings of admiration for their work. That work depends on about 500 people who give so others may live. If you are one of those 500 who have given in the past I want to thank you and ask that you stick with us. If this is a new opportunity for you to join us, please do so today. Midwives For Haiti and the Mobile Prenatal Clinic exist because of the goodness and generosity of people like you.
Please make a tax-deductible gift now. We have to raise just over $41,000 and reach our goal by May 15. Please help us keep the Mobile Clinic on the road another year by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2nvUQNP
Thank you for your support.
Steve Eads, MD
Midwives for Haiti
(Photo: BD Colen)