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Foreign Assistance Act

  • Date: Jan 01 1989
  • Policy Number: 8926

Key Words: Legislation, Infant Mortality, Maternal And Child Health

Archived APHA Policy Statement

The American Public Health Association,

Recognizing that the foreign assistance legislation is under scrutiny by the United States Congress, and that the structure of foreign assistance will be changing;1,3 and

Confident that humanitarian motives — including health, child survival, population, and nutrition assistance — will continue to be underlying themes of the US foreign aid program; and

Recognizing the extraordinary impact of family planning, international health, and child survival interventions on the health status in developing countries;3-5 for example

  • reduced infant mortality from diphtheria, neonatal tetanus, measles, pertussis, and other vaccine-preventable diseases through expanded immunization programs;
  • reduced infant mortality from diarrheal diseases through oral rehydration programs;
  • greatly expanded literacy and family planning programs; and
  • improved maternal and child nutrition through targeted education and food security programs; 


  1. Reaffirms its support for health, population, and nutrition programs as vital components of US foreign assistance;
  2. Reaffirms its view that equity of access to health care is a basic human right that should be protected from shifts in political priorities;
  3. Urges Congress to protect its investments in humanitarian assistance that have resulted in improved national capabilities to provide needed services; and
  4. Urges that, regardless of the future structure of foreign assistance, the Congress ensure the establishment of separate identifiable accounts for health and population activities.


  1. Presentation of the Task Force on Foreign Assistance to the House Foreign Affairs Committee: The Hamilton-Gilman Report. Washington, DC: US House of Representatives, 1988.
  2. Ottaway D: Foreign Act: Sweeping Change Debated. Washington Post, February 27, 1989.
  3. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): Annual Report, 1989.
  4. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): The State of the World's Children, 1989.
  5. USAID: Child Survival: A Fourth Report to Congress on the USAID Program, March 1989.