Frist is not the Senator from Matobo*…

Senator Frist is back in the news this past week for his laudable involvement in Save the Children.  Save the Children has joined a new One initiative calling for an increase in US foreign aid for mothers and children of low-income countries.  Laudable certainly but a bit disappointing too when I read this in the NYTimes [Sept 7, “Ex-Senator to Lead Global Drive on Children’s Health“]…

Save the Children hopes Mr. Frist will open doors, and it is still in the process of recruiting senior Democratic leaders, to make its appeal bipartisan.

“The children and mothers who die are in huts beyond the end of pathways with no direct access to political or
media leaders,” Mr. MacCormack said. “We need people who can walk into prime ministers’ and presidents’ offices.”

The children and mothers live in countries whose leaders are clearly failing them.  Their leadership, not ours alone, should be plying the wide halls of prime ministers and the fine offices of presidents.  I work in East Africa and still remember clearly the local constituent outrage over Uganda’s very public problems with the Global Fund.  Taxpaying Ugandans, as citizens anywhere, demand performance and accountability from government.  More of that grassroots, old fashioned constituent involvement is needed if external efforts are to have any lasting impact.

*Matobo was the fictional African country in The Interpreter.

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