WHO's 3 by 5 Initiative Behind Schedule, Goal Can Still Be Met, Report Says
July 12, 2004
Although the objective of the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative -- treating three million people with antiretroviral drugs by 2005 -- is behind schedule, it is still possible, according to the first progress report for the initiative released on Saturday, the Boston Globe reports. The report -- released in advance of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand -- estimates that 440,000 people currently are receiving treatment under the program. Dr. Jim Kim, head of WHO's AIDS program, said that there are twice as many HIV-positive people currently receiving treatment as there were two years ago. However, the agency had hoped to have 500,000 HIV-positive people receiving treatment in that time, according to the Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 7/11). Under current treatment availability, the three million-person target would not be reached until 2009, the Washington Post reports (Nakashima/Brown, Washington Post, 7/11). Officials said that the initiative's "slow progress" was due in part to the time needed to develop standard technical guidelines and training materials and certify health care workers, the New York Times reports (Altman, New York Times, 7/11). Another obstacle has been funding shortfalls, with a $62 million shortage in the $218 million needed to roll out the program, according to Agence France-Presse. WHO has estimated the total cost of the initiative at $5.5 billion, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/10). In addition, WHO is facing a shortage of trained health care workers to administer drugs in developing countries, the Post reports. According to WHO, 15,000 health care workers in developing countries have been trained to provide antiretroviral treatment since 2001; the initiative calls for training 100,000 by 2005. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kim said he "couldn't care less" about prognosticators who say the program's goal is impossible, adding, "If we don't do something extraordinary in the next 18 months, we deserve to be slapped and told to go home" (Naik, Wall Street Journal, 7/12).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.