Africa: AIDS Officials Cautiously Welcome Bush's Pledge of Money
January 30, 2003
Stephen Lewis, the UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, praised President George W. Bush's pledge of $15 billion for AIDS relief in Africa as a "dramatic signal" that the United States is ready to confront the pandemic. However, he questioned what programs the already allocated $5 billion would come from and how much of the money would go to the UN's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.Adapted from:
Some African officials said they needed more details of the Bush plan. "We appreciate the move and the gesture, but will it be enough? We don't even know how the money will be used and who will get what," said Najib Balala, Kenya's social services minister. "How do we all share this money?
"We suffer in Africa -- there's a lack of awareness, a lack of drugs and hospital facilities needed to treat AIDS ... these are the things that need to be put in place," he said. "The biggest gift would be free drugs or subsidized drugs, and US$3 billion a year is very little money."
Prega Ramsamy, executive secretary of the Southern Africa Development Community, said the money would need to go to small-scale community projects to have a real effect on people's lives. "We need to make sure that it filters down to the level of people that need it most," he said.
Maimouna Dieng, national program coordinator of the Senegalese Association for the Well-Being of the Family, called the announcement a "godsend," but others were far less sanguine.
"Which billions are you talking about?" asked a worker at an AIDS organization in Senegal. "We never see any money. You'll have to ask the government."
01.29.03; Ravi Nessman
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.