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July 27, 1964

Kathmandu: Soviet vs American Foreign Aid

JAMA. 1964;189(4):331-332. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070040081028

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To the Editor:—  The communication on the "Soviet Hospital in Kathmandu" by Dr. Joel Nobel (JAMA188:677 [May 18] 1964) provides an excellent description of the hospital, but lacks a good analysis of political implications.Whatever the motives of the Soviets for building a hospital in Nepal, its construction is yet another demonstration that they at least make optimal use of their resources. In contrast, American taxpayers have invested large amounts of money and talent in the health of that nation, but with few apparent benefits. While the Soviets were building the new facility we were attempting to improve the old civilian hospital, but very little betterment was apparent during my last visit, and there is serious doubt that any expenditure—short of that required for a new building—would ever significantly improve the facility.There is no question that the Soviet aid programs improve the "lot of the common man,"

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