November 18, 2004 

Less than two weeks before World AIDS Day,
the Bush Administration's full-bore assault on the
premiere multilateral vehicle of hope for people with AIDS
is a clear sign of how a go-it-alone President will choose
ideology over compassion in his second term.

People with HIV/AIDS from around the World
Condemn the Bush Administration
Attacks on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria and the World Health Organization


  < action from International AIDS Conference 2004


People with HIV/AIDS and their advocates today strongly condemn the attempts by the United States to block new funding for HIV/AIDS programs around the world through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and its systematic attempts to undermine the work of the World Health Organization and its efforts to ensure that 3 million people in the developing world receive HIV treatment by the end of 2005.

The suspension, proposed by the United States, of new funding for HIV, TB and malaria programs by the Global Fund, will lead to the loss of countless numbers of lives and to thousands of new infections. While we recognize there have been some problems in the disbursement of grants and implementation of programs through the Global Fund, this is not an excuse for suspending new grants to countries that desperately need this support. A fifth round of funding by the Global Fund would provide vital resources to nations around the world confronting these pandemics.

We also condemn the US government's attacks and those by right-wing think tanks associated with the Administration on the World Health Organization and its prequalification process for evaluating antiretroviral drugs. While there have been specific problems with the dossiers submitted by some of the manufacturers of generic AIDS drugs to the WHO, these problems were recognized and are being handled by the agency. We urge the US government to work with the WHO to strengthen its prequalification program rather than setting up its own regulatory process for these drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration as well as duplicative supply and procurement programs in the developing world.

With these events taken together, we believe that the US government is seeking to draw control of global AIDS programs under its own leadership rather than supporting multilateral responses through the WHO and the Global Fund. The United States cannot go it alone in the fight against AIDS and must work in cooperation with the global community. It should not abuse its power in setting the agenda in the fight against this disease, particularly when it has championed abstinence-only prevention programs that do not work and expensive brand-name drugs that are unsustainable solutions for the developing world.

Darío Abarca
Ecuadorian Coalition of People Living with HIV/AIDS
Ecuador

Zackie Achmat
Treatment Action Campaign
South Africa

Pablo Anamaria
Peruvian Coordination of People Living with HIV/AIDS
National Coalition for Acess to Treatment "Group for Life"
Peru

Collette Campher
AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa
Namibia

Robert Carr
Jamaica AIDS Support
Jamaica

Christa Cepuch
Health Action International (HAI) Africa
Kenya

Charitable Foundation "Spodivannya"
Ukraine

Enrique Chavez
AID FOR AIDS
United States

Igor Chilcevschii
Association of PLWHAs "CREDINTA"
Moldova

Polly Clayden
HIV i-Base
England

Michaela Clayton
AIDS Law Unit of the Legal Assistance Centre
Namibia

Believe Dhliwayo & Tapiwanashe Kujinga
Zimbabwe Activists on HIV/AIDS
Zimbabwe

Jaume Fabrés
gTt, Grupo de Trabajo sobre Tratamientos del VIH
Spain

Stu Flavell
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS
The Netherlands

FRONTAIDS
Russia

Loon Gangte
Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+)
India

Gregg Gonsalves
Gay Men's Health Crisis
United States

Chris W. Green
Spiritia Foundation
Indonesia

Mauro Guarinieri
European AIDS Treatment Group
Italian League for fighting AIDS (LILA)
Italian Community Advisory Board
Italy

Mark Harrington
Treatment Action Group
United States

Jodi Jacobson
Center for Health and Gender Equity
United States

James Kamau
Kenya Treatment Access Movement
Kenya

Galina Kaminskaya
CNF "All together"
Ukraine

Nataliya Kitsenko
Odessa Charity Fund "The Way Home"
Ukraine

Svilen Konov
Plus Minus Foundation
Bulgaria

Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch
International Harm Reduction Development Program
Open Society Institute
United States/Poland

Othman Mellouk
ALCS
Morocco

Lydia Mungherera
National Forum of PWA Networks/Health Rights Action Group
Uganda

Vladimir Musatov
Humanitarian ACTION
Russia

Rosette Mutambi
Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development
Uganda

Dorothy Onyango
Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya - WOFAK
Kenya

Elizabeth Owiti
Healthpartners
Kenya

Valeri Pahomov, Chair of the Board
Odessa charitable foundation "For future without AIDS
Ukraine

Rodrigo Pascal
Vivo Positivo
Chile

Germán Humberto Rincón Perfetti
Asociación Líderes en Acción
Colombia

Oswaldo A. Rada
RedLa+ Latinamerican Network of People living with HIV/AIDS
Fundación Apoyo y Solidaridad "FAS"
Colombia

Katja Roll & Rainer Seybold
Action against AIDS Germany
Germany

Régis Samba-Kounzi
Act Up-Paris
France

Anya Sarang & Raminta Stuikyte
Central Eastern European Harm Reduction Network

Elena Traicu and Lucia Stirbu
UNOPA (National Union of the Organizations of HIV/AIDS Affected Peoples)
Romania

Alice Welbourn
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
United Kingdom


plus many additional names

 



U.S. Suggests AIDS Fund Delay Grants   The New York Times
by MARC LACEY   November 17, 2004

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 16 - The Bush administration says that because too little money is coming into the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and too little is being disbursed and spent, that the three-year-old program ought to take a break from issuing grants.

A decision on the postponement will be made later this week in Arusha, Tanzania, where the Global Fund's board is meeting. Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services and the current chairman of the fund, is pushing for a delay in giving a fifth round of grants.

"Let's get the financial house in order before we make new obligations," said an official of the Bush administration, which some activists pressing for more money to fight AIDS say prefers to direct American taxpayer dollars to its own program to fight AIDS, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, than to the Global Fund, which was founded by the United Nations.

Those critics say that the American position will cost lives, and that delaying the grants will take pressure off donor countries to step up their giving. In the previous round, they said, the donors did not begin to commit money until after the grant process was well under way.

Some are more critical of the West in general than of the United States. "The West has been negligent in supporting the resources to treat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and if round five is canceled, it would be kicking Africa when it is already down," said Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy on AIDS.

The Global Fund has doled out $3 billion to about 120 countries since its founding in 2002. But the fund, which was set up to pool the resources of governments and private donors for a coordinated battle against the three diseases, has found itself seriously short of its financial goals.

The fund had been set to solicit proposals for new programs in June, but an unexpectedly small flow of contributions prompted a six-month delay. The American delegation is now advocating a postponement of the next round of grants, into next year.

The secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, had said in early 2002, when he announced the formation of the fund, that he hoped it would increase global financing for AIDS to as much as $10 billion a year. The reality has been a far more modest average of about $1 billion annually at the fund. That is far below the $20 billion or more a year that it is estimated the world will soon need to combat AIDS.

Advocacy groups for people with AIDS are planning to protest outside the board meeting, beginning on Wednesday, to drive home the point to board members that people will suffer unless donors begin doling out more funds.

"If it is delayed, I'm not sure if my clients will still be there to get any help," said Patricia Asero Ochieng, an AIDS counselor at Mbagathi District Hospital in Kenya.

Kenya's request for grant money in 2004 was turned down, with the Global Fund advising the government to reapply in 2005. A postponement of the next round of grants would mean less money to treat the country's many AIDS victims, advocates say. "Delay means death," said Kassim Issa, an AIDS activist.

But American officials say that Kenya, which has been slow to spend the money it has already received, is a good example of why another round of financing is not merited right now. In one case, they say, Kenya's Ministry of Health spent Global Fund money on a public AIDS rally that was not authorized by the fund. The government intends to pay for the rally with its own money and use the grant money for the approved purposes, Kenyan officials have said.

Even as it criticizes other countries for not doling out enough to the Global Fund, the Bush administration has disappointed many in its own financing levels. The White House requested $200 million for the fund in 2004, which Congress later increased to $547 million.

Not all the money may be spent, however. Congress limited the United States to providing only a third of the Global Fund's total budget, and donations from other countries have not reached the $1.1 billion needed to earn the whole amount.




The Board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided
today that it would delay _awards_ for Round 5 until next September, so that
funding will not need to flow until even later. This delay is not a victory
or a compromise. It occurs at the same time that the White House is working
hard in Washington to rescind the modest increases advocates won over the
meager Global Fund contributions in the President's budget.

The Bush Administration is attempting to derail the 3 x 5 initiative and
make the Global AIDS Fund irrelevant.

The Administration stifled the dream of the Global Fund since the beginning
by setting an example of with the inaugural contribution of only $200
million towards a $10 billion war chest. Since the launch, the Bush
Administration has fought every bipartisan congressional effort to pay more
of our fair share towards the Global Fund. The White House insists on trying
to cut the Global Fund contribution every year.

As you've seen in the press in the last week, the Bushies have pressured
other countries on the Global Fund Board to cancel a round of grants coming
due, which would effectively closing off hope for the WHO's initiative to
get three million on treatment by 2005. African Heads of State, Health GAP
and other NGO friends are at the Board meeting in Tanzania mounting a
resistance to this despicable attempt to stop the Global Fund. 150 AIDS
activists traveled over eight hours from Kenya to demonstrate against the
potential canceling of Round 5 and in support of the Kenya's big new Global
Fund treatment scale-up Global Fund application. These people with AIDS
found themselves being mysteriously turned away by the Arusha Chief of
Police.

At the same time, The Bush Administration twisted arms in US Congress in an
attempt to roll back the already inadequate $550 contribution. US activists
fought hard to secure $350 million increases over the President's dismal
$200 request. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee had approved
$150 million ($50 mn over the Bush request) and the Foreign Operations
Committee had approved $400 mn -- $300 mn over the Bush request.

Spineless members of Congress knuckled under to White House pressure and
sold out the Global Fund. The negotiators seem to have agreed to a cut from
$550 to $350 million for the Global Fund, right in the midst of a very
contentious board meeting!

The biggest sell outs included Representative Kolbe and Senator Specter.
Senator McConnell also played a key role.


The Global Fund still "finds itself short of its goals and on the defensive" with the Bush administration, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Two congressional subcommittees responsible for allocating appropriations to the fund on Thursday cut the U.S. pledge for 2005 to $350 million -- almost $200 million less than last year's donation. "This is a horrible confirmation of our fears of what the second Bush administration will bring," Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, said. The Bush administration's "foot dragging" almost "shut down a long list" of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria projects, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial says. The U.S.-proposed delay was "typical" of the "political sideshow that undercuts the war on AIDS," while the "infighting" between the administration and the fund "imperils the fragile existence of dozens of countries depleted by the uphill fight" against the three diseases, according to the Chronicle.


OPINION CLOSE TO THE TRUTH:

By running any global AIDS programs through PEPFAR, and not the Global Fund, generic drugs will not be made available, programs will have to promote abstinence and will probably be precluded from providing condoms, and any foreign agency also providing abortions will be deemed ineligible for funding.

Also, it wouldn't be surprising if PEPFAR started giving contracts to faith based groups and/ or military-industrial types like Halliburton to provide services and develop infrastructure in developing countries. It's always been thought pharma and the military-industrial complex were natural allies.

 

Although the USA is despicable for its lack of funding, the other world "leaders" also deserve blame.   see also:  Demonstration Against World Leaders


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