Global AIDS Alliance praises PEPFAR

Here’s a good opinion piece on the PEPFAR re-authorization, featuring comments from the Global AIDS Alliance.  I didn’t include this in my previous opinion round-up post because, a) I didn’t see it in time, and b) I think this is worth quoting at length.  Here are some excerpts:

“The bill is a tremendous achievement, and I commend Senators Biden and Lugar, who authored the bill, and Senator Reid whose fierce determination to bring the bill forward was indispensable,” said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance.

“The amount per year, about $10 billion, is less than 1 percent of this year’s federal budget, and thus is a small price to pay for a program that will save millions of lives and foster good will around the world,” said Zeitz. […]

“Myths and disinformation were used by Senators Kyl, Bunning, DeMint and others to try to undermine this bill, but in the end the truth won out,” noted Zeitz. “This bill will expand American leadership on global health and foster hope around the world. Once fully funded, it will not only help poor countries but serve America’s interests as well.”

The bill lays out a five-year strategy for confronting AIDS, TB and malaria, while authorizing, though not actually providing, a total funding level of $48 billion for global health programs. The bill also lays out a policy framework on such closely related issues as gender, care for orphaned children, nutrition, and health care worker shortages.

Senator Kyl and others said the bill would triple the authorized funding for the AIDS program, known as PEPFAR, which is not accurate. He also said a level of $30 billion over five years would already have been “a big change in the amount of money available.” In fact, because the Congress is now providing $6 billion a year for these programs, a level of $30 billion would have kept funding at the current level for the next five years. […]

Kyl also decried the bill’s effort to address nutrition, the inheritance rights of women and orphaned children and women’s lack of economic opportunities. However, these issues are central to an effective and realistic approach to HIV/AIDS.

“Stopping AIDS is more complicated that handing out medication and telling people to abstain,” said Rev. Mpho Tutu, Chair of the Board of the Global AIDS Alliance. “With this bill, the U.S. is starting to address the complexity of these related diseases, and that will make U.S. efforts much more cost-effective and sustainable,” said Tutu.

I think that last point from Rev. Tutu is key.  AIDS isn’t a stand-alone issue, and it can’t be approached as if it existed in a vacuum.  (I talked about this issue in a previous post.)

Just for the record, this brings it to 18 posts in my Official PEPFAR Collection.  You don’t get coverage like that everywhere. :)

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~ by h.e.g. on July 21, 2008.

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