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MSF Report Names Malnutrition, Inadequate Funds For HIV/AIDS, Neglected Diseases Among Top Humanitarian Crises Of 2009 « » The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

MSF Report Names Malnutrition, Inadequate Funds For HIV/AIDS, Neglected Diseases Among Top Humanitarian Crises Of 2009

Inadequate international funding for HIV/AIDS and neglected diseases as well as global malnutrition were among the top 10 humanitarian crises outlined in an annual report issued Monday by Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Associated Press reports (Astor, 12/21).

Also, as part of the report, MSF “listed the worst crises as governments preventing aid from getting through in countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Sudan, and attacks on civilians in countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia,” Reuters reports (Wulfhorst, 12/21). The annual report, which draws from the organization’s efforts in 70 countries, “seeks to generate greater awareness of the magnitude and severity of crises that may or may not be reflected in media accounts,” according to an MSF press release (12/21).

MSF said “years of success in increasing treatment for people with HIV/AIDS” could be jeapordized “because of cuts or limits to funding in international programmes,” the Mail & Guardian reports. “Just when more and more people were accessing crucial medicines and medical experts were acknowledging the need to put people on treatment sooner, patients will be turned away from clinics because the funding just won’t be there,” Christophe Fournier, the MSF international council president said. “The timing could not be worse” (12/22).

The AP continues: “Since pledging to support universal AIDS treatment coverage by 2010 at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005, many countries, including the United States, have announced plans to reduce or limit funding, Sophie Delaunay, of MSF, said. ‘In some countries doctors are turning patients away, advised to wait until other patients die,’ she warned. ‘What’s going to happen is that patients are going to show up at the door of our clinics and there is a high possibility of us getting overwhelmed'” (12/21).

“The neglect also extends to childhood malnutrition, a treatable disease that is the underlying cause of up to half of the annual ten million preventable deaths of children under five each year,” according to the MSF press release. “Global leaders gathered at the World Food Summit in Rome in 2009 failed to commit to combating the disease, which groups like MSF have shown can be prevented and treated by providing growing children with proper foods that meet their nutritional requirements. Right now, international assistance to fight malnutrition amounts to $350 million dollars, while the World Bank estimates $11.2 billion is required to adequately combat the disease in 36 high burden countries” (12/21).

The report also found “[o]ther diseases, such as Chagas, kala-azar [visceral leishmaniasis], sleeping sickness, and Buruli ulcer continue to be neglected, with very few new commitments to expanding access to available treatment or carrying out research for much needed newer and more effective drugs,” Mail & Guardian writes (12/22).

VOA News analyzes the findings of the report (DeCapua, 12/21).