Funds Tighten for Fighting AIDS and Malaria Worldwide
February 2, 2009
Health leaders are worried that the global financial crisis could hurt the programs supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and they want the United States to provide more money.
"We're talking about a few billion dollars and millions of lives," said Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a special advisor on development and health to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
There is a particular danger that the economic downturn could reverse hard-won gains in the fight against the diseases, according to experts. Low-cost initiatives like distributing anti-mosquito bed nets have helped cut malaria cases by two-thirds in Rwanda and by 80 percent in Eritrea, said Peter Chernin, president of News Corp. and chairperson of Malaria No More.
Chernin noted that the United States deserves credit for the Bush administration's dramatic increase in global health funding, but this does not alter the fact that the nation is falling further behind in its contribution to the Global Fund. The United States provides about one-third of the fund's total assets.
Christian Science Monitor (Boston)
02.02.2009; Howard LaFranchi