Majority of G-8 Mobilizes Billions to Combat Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries
Today, President Clinton and other G-8 leaders announced new partnerships to prevent and control HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and other infectious killers, and to accelerate the development of badly needed vaccines. The majority of G-8 nations have made significant new resource commitments to the infectious disease initiative.
Under the President's FY 2001 budget request, the U.S. contribution to this effort will be more than $4 billion. The initiative includes:
- Stepped up international assistance for HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases;
- An accelerated effort to develop and distribute vaccines through the Millennium Vaccine Initiative;
- Expanded research on HIV/AIDS and other infectious killers.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has been working to strengthen resources and leadership among G-8 nations for the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease threats. The global challenge of infectious disease is major focus at this year's Summit, and G-7 nations are making significant pledges to prevent and control HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. The initiative includes:
- Japanese pledge of $3 billion over five years for international HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB;
- Canadian announcement of more than $100 million for international HIV/AIDS programs;
- U.K. and Italian support for substantial increases for international infectious disease partnerships;
- G-7-wide support for innovative new partnerships with industry, academia, and international organizations to ensure that new vaccines are developed and existing ones are delivered where needed.
The World Bank has committed $600 to $700 million in lending for HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and immunizations. The Clinton-Gore Administration has been urging multilateral development banks to increase their resources for health care systems, including vaccination programs and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. World Bank President James Wolfensohn has committed to triple concessional lending in FY 2001 for AIDS, malaria, TB, and immunizations from $200 million to between $600 and $700 million. This step will complement the Cologne Debt Initiative, which will help free the resources of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries so they can invest in health care, education, the fight against AIDS, the alleviation of poverty, and future prosperity.
Today's announcement builds on the Administration's aggressive response to global disease challenges.
- This year, President Clinton is asking Congress for an increase of $100 million to $325 million for international AIDS prevention and care -- more than doubling the nation's commitment in 2 years.
- This year, the Administration has requested more than $100 million for TB prevention, control and research, and more than $100 million for malaria.
- On January 10, 2000, Vice President Gore chaired chaired the first-ever United Nations Security Council session on a health issue -- HIV/AIDS as an international security threat.
- On May 10, 2000, an Executive Order to help make HIV/AIDS-related drugs and medical technologies more affordable and accessible in beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries, while protecting intellectual property rights. Last month, the pharmaceutical industry announced an initiative to reduce prices for anti-retroviral drugs for developing countries.
- Last month, the Peace Corps announced that all 2,400 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 25 countries in Africa will be trained as educators of HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
- In his State of the Union address, President Clinton announced the Millennium Vaccine Initiative to accelerate the development of malaria, TB, and AIDS vaccines -- vaccines for which there is an enormous need, but little market incentive for industry to develop. The initiative calls for:
- $50 million in the President's FY 2001 budget as a contribution to the vaccine purchase fund of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI);
- presidential leadership to ensure that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks dedicate an additional $400 million to $900 million annually of their low-interest rate loans to health care services;
- significant increases in federally funded basic research on diseases that affect developing nations; and
- $1 billion tax credit for sales of vaccines for infectious diseases to accelerate their invention and production.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration has a commitment to world-class research, including investments in infectious disease research exceeds $2.6 billion in the FY 2001 budget request, including $2.1 billion for AIDS research.
- The Administration has doubled AIDS vaccine research funding since 1997, when President Clinton called for an accelerated effort to develop an affordable, effective AIDS vaccine.
- This year, the President is asking Congress for $267 million for AIDS vaccine research, an increase of 12% over last year.
- President Clinton's budget request also calls for a nearly 20% increase for research on other infectious killers, such as malaria and TB.
The Scope of the Problem of Infectious Disease in Developing Countries:
- 1/4 of all deaths each year worldwide -- 13 million people -- are the result of infectious diseases.
- Last year, AIDS killed 2.8 million people worldwide, more than ten times the number who died in armed conflict. AIDS is now the single leading cause of death in Africa, and HIV-infection rates are soaring in parts of Asia, and Eastern Europe.
- In Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, one half of all 15-year-olds will die of AIDS.
- Thirteen million sub-Saharan African children have now lost one or both of their parents to AIDS; the number will reach 40 million by the end of the decade.
- Over 8 million children die each year of centuries-old diseases, like malaria, TB, and diarrheal diseases -- more than 3 million of these deaths could be prevented by existing vaccines.
- Immunization is one of the most cost effective health interventions. It costs only $15 to immunize a child, yet in developing countries, children remain 10 times more likely to die of a vaccine preventable disease than those in the industrialized world. Twenty percent of children worldwide lack access to basic immunization services.
- Only 2% of all global biomedical research is devoted to the major killers in the developing world.