February 1, 2010
"The Obama administration is expected to propose in its fiscal 2011 budget Monday new funding to combat preventable and tropical diseases, malnutrition and other conditions afflicting the world's poor, as part of a strategy to broaden its approach to global health," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"The new policy, details of which the administration plans to release along with the budget, retains HIV/AIDS as the administration's top funding priority, but will devote new funding to reducing deaths from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, poor nutrition and common treatable illnesses that kill millions every year, particularly women and children, according to people familiar with the new plan," the newspaper writes. The strategy will also focus on working with individual countries on strengthening their health systems.
"The details of the new plan will fill in a pledge by President Barack Obama in May to request $63 billion between 2009 and 2014, including $51 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, [tuberculosis] and malaria, and $12 billion for other priorities, including maternal and child health," the newpaper writes. The article includes concerns voiced by HIV/AIDS advocates that the administration is "scaling back" on the global AIDS fight, the response of a senior administration official and comments by other health experts.
"Among initiatives targeted for increased funding under the new plan are family planning, to prevent some of the 52 million unintended pregnancies each year, and the reduction or elimination of tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic disease that affects more than 120 million people world-wide, and onchocerciasis, or river blindness," the Wall Street Journal writes (McKay, 1/31).
Wall Street Journal Examines U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Strategy
In a second story, the Wall Street Journal examines the challenges associated with U.S. global strategy to fight HIV/AIDS. "Seven years after the U.S. launched [PEPFAR,] its widely hailed program to fight AIDS in the developing world, the battle is reaching a critical turning point," the newspaper writes, adding that "[t]he growth in U.S. funding, which underwrites nearly half the world's AIDS relief, has slowed dramatically. At the same time, the number of people requiring treatment has skyrocketed."
"Critics are questioning whether the reduced spending pace means the [Obama] administration doesn't plan to use the full $48 billion authorized by Congress by 2013." The newspaper notes that U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby has stated that President Obama is committed to the global HIV/AIDS fight and universal coverage.
"The most immediate concern [for the U.S.] is getting enough lifesaving drugs to all those who need them," the Wall Street Journal writes. "Under the Bush administration, ... [PEPFAR] set aggressive goals for getting people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, into drug therapy, eventually enrolling some 2.4 million by the end of last year," the newspaper continues. The Obama administration has set a goal of increasing the number of people on treatment to four million over five years.
The article focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Uganda, "a lush East-African country that once stood out as a shining star in the fight against AIDS." In recent years, Uganda has seen the rate of HIV in its population increasing "after a long decline," according to the newspaper. Health experts worry Uganda may foreshadow "what's to come in the rest of Africa," the newspaper writes. The article includes comments by health experts and HIV/AIDS advocates (Allen, 1/30).