“A tremendous amount of attention will be focused on AIDS over the next six weeks — and that’s a great thing,” as the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) convenes in Washington, D.C., from July 22 to 27, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. “This is a moment of hope,” he adds, continuing, “The world has seen a fundamental transformation in the global AIDS outlook over the past decade, with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria playing leading roles.”
Gabriel Jaramillo, general manager of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “took a new approach to appealing for donations last week, arguing to finance ministers from participating nations that the fund is a great investment,” the New York Times reports. Calling investment in the fund “a good deal,” Jaramillo, a former banker, “urged ministers meeting in Tunisia to ‘put your skin in the game now, because the out-years will be much cheaper as your number of cases goes down,'” the newspaper writes. As an example of “cost-efficiency,” he cited Namibia, which spends $120 million annually on HIV treatment — half from the Global Fund — and has seen a drop from 2,700 AIDS-related deaths per year to 56 per year over five years, according to the newspaper (McNeil, 7/9).
In this New York Times opinion piece, columnist Nicholas Kristof examines the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid, writing, “In this election year in the United States, there’ll be bitter debates about what should be cut from budgets, and one thing Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is that foreign aid is bloated.” He states, “In fact, all foreign aid accounts for about one percent of federal spending — and that includes military assistance and a huge, politically driven check made out to Israel, a wealthy country that is the largest recipient of American aid.” He continues, “On my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student — this year it’s Jordan Schermerhorn of Rice University — we’ve been seeing how assistance changed the course of the AIDS epidemic in Lesotho and Malawi.”
Noting the 2010 reversal of the HIV travel and immigration ban allowing the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to be held in the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) writes in a Huffington Post Blog opinion piece, “It is so exciting to host this conference at such a pivotal time in the history of the AIDS response,” and adds, “At no other time in history has our global leadership been more important than it is right now.” With nearly 25,000 people from about 200 countries expected to gather in Washington, D.C., for the conference July 22-27, “These leaders in the global HIV and AIDS fight will showcase their incredible efforts and achievements on our own soil” and “have the opportunity to develop new solutions in addressing the ongoing challenges posed by HIV/AIDS in our own country and around the world,” Lee writes.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday released Issue 5 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue reports that strategic planners at the Global Fund “are designing a new funding model”; notes the “Japan Center for International Exchange announced last week that its new president, Ken Shibusawa, would also become director of the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ)”; profiles Ade Fakoya, senior adviser on HIV and AIDS at the Global Fund; and highlights a speech by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby delivered at the Brookings Institution in Washington last week in which he “praised the reforms being undertaken at the Global Fund” (7/3).
Advocacy Groups Say Corruption Leaving Millions Of HIV-Positive Ukrainians Without Treatment, AP Reports
The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports on how Ukrainian “advocacy groups are accusing the government of embezzling millions of dollars in corrupt drug tenders and thus depriving patients of vital treatment.” The news service notes, “Of the estimated 450,000 Ukrainians who are HIV-positive, 70,000 require urgent treatment today, … [but] only 28,000 are receiving it, leaving over 40,000 of patients without antiretroviral therapy, which could greatly prolong their lives, according to WHO.” Igor Pokanevych, head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, said, “More resources should be allocated to fight against AIDS in this country,” but the AP reports that “advocacy groups charge that the government in fact has the necessary funds to treat all of its AIDS patients” and “accuse health ministry officials [of] embezzling money that should be used to treat patients by buying AIDS drugs at hugely inflated prices and then pocketing kickbacks.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday released Issue 4 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue features a commentary by Mireille Guigaz, a Global Fund Board member representing France, on the Global Fund’s work in Madagascar, and a piece examining “a Board decision last November that 55 percent of all funding for grant renewals should go to low-income countries,” among other stories (6/19).
During a live webcast discussing recent changes at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “[p]anelists discussed the fund’s new strategy and what this strategy means for the global fight against these three diseases,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports. J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted the Global Fund’s new general manager, Gabriel Jaramillo, had moved quickly in focusing on restructuring and realigning the fund, according to the blog. Todd Summers, independent consultant and chair of the Strategy, Investment & Impact Committee at the Global Fund, said, “Now we see lots of opportunity to really make a big difference and change forever the trajectory” of the epidemics, “Global Pulse” notes.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) on Wednesday “held a live, interactive webcast to examine recent changes at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the implications for U.S. global health policy,” the foundation reports on its webpage, where a video recording of the webcast is available. “A panel of experts discussed the Global Fund’s recent funding challenges and reorganization, how the U.S. and other donor nations are responding to these changes, and the future outlook for the Fund’s efforts to address HIV, TB, and malaria around the world,” KFF notes (6/13).
“Two years after some $22 million in donor funds were pumped into malaria control along the Cambodia-Thailand border to fight off suspected resistance to treatment, health workers say the battle is not over,” IRIN reports, adding, “The government reported 103,000 malaria infections and 151 deaths nationwide in 2010. A year later, 85,000 reported infections led to 93 deaths — a 38-percent decline in mortality.” “‘If you take your foot off the â€¦ [accelerator] we can lose everything we have done in the past two to three years,’ Steven Bjorge, anti-malaria team leader in Cambodia for the [WHO], told IRIN in February 2012,” the news service writes.