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.
Speaking to G8 foreign ministers at their meeting in Gatineau, Quebec last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:
“If the G8 is to remain credible, accountability is absolutely necessary. Member nations must keep their commitments on economic pledges, on development and on security actions. I look forward to a productive dialogue in Muskoka on strengthening accountability for G8 initiatives.”
I could not agree more. The IAS has repeatedly urged Prime Minister Harper to make the 2005 G8 commitment to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support by 2010 a centrepiece of the G8 Summit in Muskoka in June. Unfortunately, despite his own call for accountability, Harper has been silent on the G8’s commitment to universal access in the lead up to Muskoka.
|Prime Minister Harper, centre, delivers his statement at the meeting. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon is at left and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is at right. Source: Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
We’ll continue pushing in hopes that Prime Minister Harper and his counterparts will put forth and agree to a plan to reignite the drive for universal access when they meet this summer. The next key milestone in that process is the meeting of the G8 development ministers later this month in Halifax, Nova Scotia where they will have the opportunity to again place universal access prominently on the G8 agenda.
Today, I am very pleased that Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, has accepted the IAS’ invitation to post a guest blog regarding the first Global Fund Replenishment meeting taking place at The Hague, 25 – 26 March. In addition to his leadership at the helm of the Global Fund, we have been privileged to have Michel’s wisdom and advice as one of the European members of the IAS Governing Council for many years, where he has made an enormous contribution in shaping the strategic direction of the IAS.
Time to Redouble Our Efforts
By Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
2010 will be decisive. The world will review progress on the Millennium Development Goals at a summit at the United Nations in September. But 2010 is also the year of the Third Voluntary Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The outcome will determine where the world will be with respect to the three pandemics and the health-related Millennium Development Goals in 2015. It will determine whether we will win the fight – or whether we will waver in our commitment and let the progress falter, allowing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to gain force again.
|Prof. Michel Kazatchkine - Executive Director of the Global Fund
© International AIDS Society / Simon Deiner / SDR Photo
The first meeting of the Global Fund’s replenishment, which takes place this week in the Netherlands, will bring together a broad range of stakeholders, including donor governments, as well as private sector donors and beneficiaries. It is aimed at securing funds for the 2011 – 2013 grant period, and represents an important step in a process that will lead up to a final ‘pledging’ meeting in New York in early October, 2010. More...
World leaders who committed to universal access to HIV prevention, care, treatment and support by 2010 must be held accountable. This week the IAS is launching a major campaign to do just that. We are mobilizing our14,000+ members along with tens of thousands allies around the globe to speak directly to world leaders about what is at risk as they continue to falter in their commitment to provide the resources and leadership needed to achieve universal access.
Our Universal Access Now campaign calls for a global recommitment to universal access as the Global Fund prepares for its replenishment meetings later this month and again in October and the Group of Eight and Group of 20 prepare to meet in Canada in June. More...