Several nations rely substantially on international assistance and aid to save and protect their citizens. 

Over the last decade, there has been a prolonged and grueling debate over science financing and humanitarian relief worldwide. 

For instance, African countries have been receivers of foreign aid for a very long time. Africa receives about 20% of US aid, with Egypt, Kenya, and South Sudan receiving the most.

A rising wealth of evidence reveals that death rates are reducing rapidly in many impoverished countries, with aid-supported healthcare delivery programs playing an increasingly important role. 

One of the latest researches by Gabriel Demombynes and Sofia Trommlerova demonstrates that Kenya’s infant mortality rate has decreased dramatically in recent years, with a large part of the improvement attributed to the widespread use of anti-malaria bed nets.

In the year 2000, Africa was battling three primary plagues. AIDS was destroying the lives of almost 2 million people every year, and it was expanding quickly. 

Malaria was rising, attributable to the parasite’s increasing resistance to the available treatments. Tuberculosis was also on the rise due to the AIDS epidemic and in part to the introduction of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria. 

Moreover, thousands of women lost their lives annually during delivery due to the lack of access to safe births and emergency facilities in clinics or hospitals.

Therefore, the United States acted quickly, establishing two significant programs to combat AIDS and malaria, respectively. 

In response to all of the initiatives, donor aid funds began to climb dramatically. In 1995, overall healthcare funding was estimated to be around 7.9 billion dollars. 

This insufficient level gradually increased to $10.5 billion by 2000. However, by 2005, yearly health care aid increased by another $5.9 billion, and by 2010, the amount had increased by $10.5 billion.

Large campaigns against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria followed by a massive ramping up of safe delivery and improved vaccine penetration, such as the near-eradication of polio, were made possible by the increased aid and funding. 

In 1990, approximately 12 million children under the age of five perished. By 2010, the figure had dropped to roughly 7.6 million, perhaps too big, but a substantial improvement was observed. 

Malaria deaths among African children fell from about 1 million in 2004 to approximately 700,000 by 2010. 

And, the casualties among pregnant women fell by nearly half from 543,000 to 287,000 between 1990 and 2010.

Vaccine

Vaccines | Photo by FRANK MERIÑO

Immunization, one of the most effective health care interventions ever devised, saves the lives of two and three million children each year.

But the sad truth is not every person, and every country can access vaccines and save lives. As a result, they have to wait on foreign aid and donations from developed countries to pity their future and invest in their lives. 

Burundi, Somalia, Mozambique, Niger, Liber are a fraction of the poorest countries in the world who have to face such peril. Their lives are heavily dependent on science funding. 

It is possible that catching some infections will make it easier to acquire others. Having influenza, for instance, can increase susceptibility to pneumonia caused by other pathogens. 

Hence, the best method for preventing coinfections is to avoid contamination in the first place by being vaccinated. 

Certain vaccines protect for a fixed time and necessitate booster doses, while others offer lifetime protection. 

Either way, vaccinated individuals are substantially more protected from various dangerous diseases than unvaccinated persons, both short and long.

Malaria is a parasitic infection that invades and destroys our blood cells to increase, and mosquito bites transmit it. 

However, Africa bears the burden of the disease’s toll, with over 260,000 children dying in 2019. Malaria parasites come in over a hundred different varieties. 

Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous and widespread parasite in Africa. The RTSS vaccine fights it, which they would have never been able to afford if not for science funding. 

Disease control and prevention are less costly than treating significant diseases, and immunizations seem to be the most cost-effective approach available. 

Reducing sickness saves resources in the healthcare system and lowers medical costs. Too many deaths occur due to a lack of access to high-quality healthcare. 

When a kid is in poverty and becomes ill, medical care may be insufficient or require numerous travel days to access the service. 

Therefore, preventing illness before it develops could be the only way to save that child’s life. Vaccines can be provided swiftly to large groups through funded national immunization programs and mass vaccination campaigns, offering extensive immunity. 

Delivery in even the most remote regions of the world is becoming more feasible, thanks to innovative tactics and generous donors.

In short, vaccines enable more children to see their fifth birthdays, let alone adulthood. This fact is enough to say that our lives are highly dependent upon science funding.

But the question is, can the African states afford to vaccinate the whole population in Africa? Every time there is an outbreak of a life-threatening disease, some people have no means of safeguarding their families. 

Vaccinating the world against COVID-19 should have been a top priority of all nations. While most of the populations in developed countries have been immunized against COVID-19, inhabitants of poor, under-developed nations still have no access. 

They are in a long waiting line hoping to receive some vaccine (in fact, just any kind) from either American or some European nation funding. 

Disaster Risk Reduction

Silhouette of Firemans holding hose | Photo by Denniz Futalan

Disaster risk reduction is essential for long-term progress. It is also crucial for alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe now and then. Every year, 350 million people are affected by natural calamities. 

Around 60% of tragedies strike vulnerable communities, where the effects of disasters and violence frequently overlap, worsening misery, food shortages, and susceptibility. 

Prevention is better than cure, no doubt. But can every nation invest money in disaster management programs? 

For countries having difficulties feeding their citizens, investing in disaster preparedness seems highly far-fetched. 

The majority of the population in well-off nations contribute money right after a disaster in reaction to robust emotional demands. 

Contributors who provide resources throughout the disaster’s life span, on the other hand, have the power to reinforce that every dollar donated is used to its optimal capacity. Participating in avoidance allows one to save money and lives. 

According to a study, federal mitigation grant programs end up saving at least $6 in fatalities, property destruction, and other costs for each $1 spent. 

At present days, development organizations are investing plenty of funds in the management of the disaster life cycle, which includes several phases that are highly scientific in their proceedings:

Mitigation: Hazard mitigation measures proactively avoid potential disasters or reduce their harmful repercussions. It necessitates possible danger risk assessment and the implementation of mitigation techniques, such as flood-proofing dwellings or purchasing insurance, to lower the possibility of risks becoming catastrophes.

Disaster preparedness: Preparedness activities involve strategies or arrangements undertaken ahead of time to help people and families cope with a disaster crisis. Stockpiling on food and clean water, or assembling and selecting interested volunteers to respond in an emergency, are examples of such preparedness.

Disaster response: Search and rescue work encompasses any measures conducted either during or immediately after a disaster, such as attempts to save victims and avoid further destruction of property. Preferably, disaster response entails instituting disaster preparedness plans that have previously been devised. This stage of the catastrophe life cycle usually gets the most attention and funding support. It is also referred to as “disaster relief.”

Disaster recovery: After the losses have been evaluated, disaster recovery entails taking steps to restore the afflicted community to its pre-disaster status or, better all the while, making it less exposed to possible risks. Having an understanding of threats as well as the pattern of susceptibility is part of risk appraisal. Following that, efforts could include physical improvements to education, training, and public awareness initiatives.

Every time there is a vast natural calamity in underdeveloped countries, self-sufficient nations accumulate and gather funds for the recovery and rehabilitation of victims. 

Millions of dollars are mobilized to save the lives of people in need. The funding fulfills the need for food, shelter, medicine, rehabilitation, rebuilding, etc. 

We are well acquainted with the international donor agencies that enabled the families in Somalia to get their daily bread at famines. 

Several organizations have been working towards reducing the infant mortality rate in poor Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and India by promoting and facilitating nutrition and health care.

Just imagine the number of death polls in underdeveloped nations if self-sufficient countries stopped funding research and providing aid during disasters.

To Wrap Up

Women standing near her house | Photo by Parij Photography

Developing and underdeveloped nations have struggled to make considerable improvements in the well-being of their populations despite significant aid, with inflows far surpassing debt payment outflows and notwithstanding much-despised regulation on these aids. 

There are plenty of controversies, some attributed to financial strain, while others accuse preconditions.

But we cannot deny that science funding and aids have saved the lives of thousands of people. Had there been no aid support at times of Myanmar Cyclone (2008), Nepal Earthquake (2015), Indian Tsunami (2004), the events would have killed many more people than they did.

If developed countries stopped contributing their funds to disaster forecasting tools, many African and Asian countries would face tremendous peril. 

The same goes with the recent example of aids and funding invested in developing the COVID-19 vaccine. While the research and development continue, in the absence of such science fundings, it is evident that we would have never reached this “new normal.”

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!