Thursday, December 1 was World AIDS Day. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces and an editorial published in recognition of the day.
“If the momentum gained in the last few years” in fighting global diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, measles, and meningitis “is any indicator of our future trajectory, we are standing on the threshold of a revolutionary change in the state of global health,” Wendy Taylor, senior adviser of Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID, and David Cook, executive vice president and COO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), write in this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” They discuss the importance of “Product Development Partnerships, or PDPs for short,” which “are great examples of public-private collaborations [that] are starting to build deep pipelines for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.”
“A malaria vaccine could be a powerful new tool,” but “[c]ontrolling mosquitoes and diagnosing malaria remain essential. Among the highest priorities now is to develop new methods to do both,” a Bloomberg editorial states. “There is both less and more than meets the eye in the recent news that an experimental malaria vaccine cut in half the risk that children would contract the illness,” according to the editorial, which adds, “Many of the headlines that followed promised a life-saving vaccine around the corner — a prospect that in truth remains a maybe. At the same time, the trial results affirmed the benefits of a multipronged attack on malaria.”
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided to cancel Round 11 grant approval during a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, that concluded on November 22, according to a Global Fund press release (11/23). The following opinion pieces address this action.
“Although advances in vaccines, nutrition and family health have dramatically reduced the number of child deaths in the past 50 years, nearly eight million children younger than five still die every year,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in this CNN opinion piece. She adds, “To me, this number is unacceptable, because most of these deaths could be avoided” by providing antibiotics, sterile medical supplies, or education on breastfeeding, as well by improving access to nutrient-rich foods and effective contraceptives.
Thursday, December 1 is World AIDS Day. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces published in recognition of the day.
In his ForeignPolicy.com column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that despite an “abundance of tools to fight the global AIDS epidemic,” including male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “the breakthroughs don’t amount to a global reprieve.” The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement it is postponing Round 11 grants, “on top of news that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined 10 percent in 2010, should be a wake-up call to focus on cost-effective responses,” he writes.
In this Business Day opinion piece, Donald Gips, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, examines progress made in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, writing that, through the coordination of governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and researchers from around the world, “we now have the tools that allow us for the first time to set the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation — when virtually no children are born with the virus; we have effective and comprehensive education and prevention strategies that help to reduce risk; and those who are infected with HIV have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and transmitting the virus.”
In this Washington Post opinion piece, Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain and founder of the Africa Governance Initiative, highlights South Korea’s transformation from aid recipient to aid donor over the past 50 years and writes that, as national and development leaders prepare to meet in the country this week for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, “The international goal must be to make sure many more countries are transformed.” Noting that development assistance has helped improve markers in areas such as health and education, Blair writes that transforming countries “will require building on the success of aid, broadening our thinking beyond aid to strengthen states and markets, and developing a new set of global relationships to tackle global issues” (11/25).
“This Thursday’s commemoration of World AIDS Day marks a potential turning point in the fight against a global epidemic that has yet to be arrested,” a Detroit Free Press editorial states. “Over the past three decades, scientific discoveries about [HIV] and advances in treating it have brought the end of the AIDS epidemic within view. Accomplishing that, however, will take political will, additional resources and even stronger leadership by the United States,” it continues.