On Thursday night I appeared on Canada’s popular news show The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. In addition to talking about Vancouver’s safe injecting site and our efforts to keep it open, I used the opportunity to once again urge our Prime Minister to make AIDS a priority at the upcoming G8 summit.
As I noted on the show, “I cannot comprehend how anyone can talk about maternal and child health in Africa and ignore the fact that 30% of the women in that age group are actually HIV infected. How can you pretend that you are going to look after their health and the health of the children when you are not bringing them treatment?...My concern is this is all about politics and not about honest delivery of programmes.”
Speaking with George about the need for the G8 to commit more resources to treatment scale up, I noted, “The cost effectiveness of this treatment is incredible. They are in fact not just cost effective, they are cost averting. They are saving us money. We’re not doing it because we don’t care. We don’t care to follow up on our promises.”
Click here to view the interview.
The outcomes of last week’s Global Fund Board meeting brought relief and joy. Many people, fearful that planned discussions about prioritizing and financing for the next round of funding could damage the Global Fund’s collaborative spirit, went into the meeting thinking it could be the toughest yet.
Against a tough back drop of financial uncertainty, the Board’s decision to launch Round 10 on 20 May with an innovative new fund to support programmes for marginalized populations proved to be an important step forward in the Global Fund’s maturation.
As usual, the Board meeting made for an intensely busy week with late-night gatherings proving key to working through the issues at hand. Global Fund Chair, Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros, agreed that IAS could attend the meeting as an Observer. We hope this role will continue, given the importance of the Fund’s work to our membership, who play a central role reviewing applications on the Technical Review Panels, serving on Country Coordinating Mechanisms and delivering programmes supported by the Global Fund.
Setting funding priorities is inherently about choices. In the lead-up to the meeting it looked as though the Board would face tough choices that could pit low- and middle-income countries against one another, knowing that resolution on prioritization was key to deciding whether, when and how 10 would be launched. With a cap? With a waiting list? And who would be first on that list? These questions are most acute now because with the Replenishment process kicking off, no one knows how much money will be in the bank at the start of next year – and the Fund is only allowed to make grants up to the amount of real cash it holds. More...
A study published by The Lancet this week brings welcome news of significant reductions in maternal deaths and cites access to HIV antiretroviral therapy as a major contributor to reduced death rates among women. It is among the most compelling evidence to date that HV services do not compete with other health priorities in the developing world, they support them.
|Photo: WHO/UNAIDS/E. Miller
The study shows once again that access to HIV prevention, treatment and care are essential to a comprehensive approach to improving developing world health because they:
- reduce all-cause mortality
- improve maternal health
- improve child health by preventing and treating HIV disease in children and reducing diarrheal and other diseases through safe breastfeeding
- reduce tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that exploit HIV-weakened immune systems
- support health worker training and strengthen developing world health systems.
Looking at maternal health in 181 countries over a span of almost 30 years, the study offers yet more proof that concerted, evidence-based action to improve the health of vulnerable populations works. More...