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'Economic Compassion'

September 06, 1985

I was pleased to read your editorial. It is very clear to me, and it must be equally clear to every thinking person, that the economical way to help children at risk is to spend a relatively small amount of money for preventive measures rather than a much larger amount further down the road. And yet our Administration unthinkingly and uneconomically cuts back or cuts out these programs.

"Getting our money's worth" should be a priority in aid to Third World children as well. There are several programs today that are doing just that. For literally pennies, children in developing countrie are being immunized against crippling childhood diseases such as polio and measles for approximately 10 cents a dose; children are being saved from death due to dehydration by a simple solution of sugar and salt easily prepared and administered by parents.

A single megadose of Vitamin A, given once every six months keeps a malnourished child from going blind, as well as making the child less vulnerable to killing disease--and this tiny capsule costs only 2 to 4 cents each. Yet President Reagan has requested deep cuts in the funding for 1986 for two agencies that administer these programs--UNICEF and the Agency for International Development health account.

In the case of the Child Survival Fund, a third agency just established last year to specifically fund oral rehydration and immunization programs, the President requested that Congress appropriate no funds for 1986, whatsoever. Hopefully, Congress will see that these programs really stretch our aid dollars, are economical as well as compassionate and pass legislation to refund them generously.

SHIRLEY WILLIAMS

La Canada

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