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'Economic Compassion'

September 06, 1985

Your editorial offers sound evidence that it pays to provide supplemental feeding, immunizations and preschool programs to vulnerable American children. We save the social costs of curative health care, unemployment and crime.

Can we extend this rationale for investment in children's well-being to our foreign aid funding? Let's look at some high payoff opportunities.

Widespread use of child-growth monitoring charts, oral rehydration therapy, breast-feeding and immunizations can cut the current daily child death toll of 40,000 in half--in a decade.

Global immunizations alone can save the lives of 5 million children annually and spare another 5 million a year the pain of permanent disability.

Breast-feeding can save the lives of 1 million children who are otherwise vulnerable to the infections and diminished immunity associated with bottle-feeding.

Oral rehydration therapy can save another 5 million from death due to diarrheal dehydration.

Now, a look at the payoffs: Lives spared, curative and rehabilitation costs saved, social stresses eased, a necessary condition for a sustained drop in birthrates met, a vision of a positive future for the planet in clearer focus.

Our U.S. senators will shortly vote appropriations for three key agencies actively promoting the above programs: U.S. AID (health programs), the Child Survival Fund, and UNICEF. They could use a call or letter of support for Senate agreement with the House Appropriation Committee recommendations, which, essentially sustain funding at current levels.

BARBARA DUNLAP

West Hollywood

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