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SHAFR 2019 Panel: The Imperial and the Moral in 20th c. American Humanitarian Aid


Presentation title:“Profiting from Humanitarianism: Appropriate Technology and Public-Private Partnerships in International Health, 1977-1987”

Abstract:Started in 1977, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health aimed to make diagnostics, drugs, and devices that were radically affordable for the developing world—under one dollar per dose. The only way they could meet this goal was through the creation of public-private partnerships, however their work with the private sector and the profit margins built into their contracts for humanitarian technologies created hostility and suspicion towards them from foreign aid donors. As USAID increasingly contracted out aid projects to nongovernmental organizations, they had to reckon with an apparent conflict between profit-motives and moral imperatives in humanitarian assistance.