Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria:

Bureaucrats Betray People with AIDS in Poor Countries

 

UPDATE: December 1st, 2001
Global Fund for AIDS
Peter Piot announced last week in a press conference from Moscow that Italy
is the only country to actually have deposited funds: $200m, and the US has
apparently reduced its intended 750m to 120million.

Activists had asked the US to contribute $2 billion, and the US's low
initial contribution has widely been seen as a mediocre precedent that has
affected the level of subsequent contributions by setting the bar so low.

The irony is that the USA is able to spend 1 Billion Dollars A DAY on WAR.

 

22 November 2001
Joint Press Release by NGOs from Belgium, Burundi, France, Ivory
Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, UK, and US.

Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria:
Bureaucrats Betray People with AIDS in Poor Countries

AIDS activists from around the world demand the Global Fund subsidize
cheap AIDS Drugs

(Brussels) International AIDS activists and medical organizations
confront the opening day of meetings of the Board for the Global Fund
for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Brussels. Activists are
concerned by the clear lack of commitment among Global Fund decision
makers to financing AIDS treatment in poor countries.

Set to launch on December 15, 2001 the Global Fund is currently
poised to finance treatment only for diseases cheaper to treat than
HIV, despite public health evidence that AIDS treatment is cost
effective and is a key aspect of an effective response to the AIDS
pandemic. The activists insist that access to AIDS treatment is a
fundamental human right that the Global Fund must help fulfill, as 30
million people with HIV are currently living with no access to
affordable medication.

Activists from 10 countries have gathered in Brussels to meet with
Global Fund Board members to demand funding for AIDS drugs, including
antiretrovirals. The activists report that Global Fund
decision-makers have already made clear that funding HIV treatment in
poor countries will not be a priority for the Fund, despite the
desperate worldwide need for AIDS drugs, and the tremendous gap in
access to AIDS treatment that spurred the creation of the Global Fund
by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in April, 2001.

"The Global AIDS TB and Malaria Fund is turning into a slow,
under-funded bureaucracy that will not be able to produce results.
27,000 people will die today because they lack access to affordable
treatment for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," said Zackie Achmat of
the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa.

"What we're seeing here is a betrayal of what the Fund was invented
for in the first place. Rich countries cannot be allowed to simply
sentence 30 million people with HIV to death because they prefer to
focus on cheaper diseases," said Evan Ruderman of the Health GAP
Coalition. "There is no reason for the Fund to wait to deliver vital
medicines and start turning the tide while global comprehensive plans
guidelines are developed over the next year."

The proposals being debated by the Global Fund board members fail to
address proposals for treatment programs, or for the procurement or
distribution of medicines. A concrete proposal that NGOs are making
is for the Fund to start saving lives now, by putting vital HIV drugs
into the hands of qualified field organizations through procurement
and delivery systems already housed within UN agencies.

"Hospitals, clinics and workplaces in the field can immediately scale
up effective treatment and care if they are given the HIV/AIDS drugs
they can not afford," said Joseph Essombo, an AIDS doctor with the
Ivory Coast Bouake Health Network.

"The fund must prioritize programs that quickly put critical
medicines into the hands of the suffering," said Pearl Nwashili of
Stop AIDS in Nigeria. "But the donor countries seem perfectly content
that the Global Fund will not finance programs to start saving lives
now, when 10,000 people with AIDS die each day."

The Doha declaration on Public Health affirms the rights of poor
countries to bypass patents and purchase generic HIV medicines. "Even
the World Trade Organization recognizes that economics can not
dictate double standards on world health" said Gaelle Krikrian of ACT
UP Paris. "The experience of doctors in the field shows that HIV
treatment is absolutely feasible in poor countries, and, since the
advent of generic competition, entirely affordable".

The international group of NGOs will meet with Global Fund board
members this week to demand:

* GF must commit to saving the lives of people infected with AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria by providing treatment. Treatment for AIDS
must not be a lower priority than prevention, or treatment for TB or
Malaria.

*GF must prioritize, encourage and fast-track financing for
provisions for AIDS medications at best world prices through
international bidding and bulk procurement.

* GF must agree that the Fund will quickly make funds for treatment
available to any qualified care providers that can rapidly deliver
treatment to people with AIDS tuberculosis and malaria.

* GF must support the use of best world price and not restrict the
use of affordable generic medicines to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria

* GF must not use a shortage of resources to justify deadly
ineffective measures such as HIV prevention in the absence of
treatment. Donor countries must commit sufficient amounts to give the
Global Fund, and make good on the promise made last June at the
United Nations' Special General Assembly on AIDS to commit at least
10 billion USD a year to the global fight against aids.

Oxfam International
Health GAP Coalition
ACT UP New York
ACT UP Philadelphia
ACT UP Paris,
Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa)
WOFAK (Kenya)
People's Health Coalition (South Korea)
Stop AIDS (Nigeria)
Renaissance Sate Bouake (Cote D'Ivore)
Pharmacist's Association for Healthy Society (PAHS)
Intellectual Property Left (IPLeft)
People's Solidarity for Social Progress
Team of Drug Policy, Korean Association of Physician for Humanism
People's Health Coalition

 


 



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