Wanted to add to this thread. I just read an article over at the Economist (it's premium content, so if you don't subscribe you can't read it... sorry)<br><br>http://economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=639326<br>Here's some of the article:<br><br>Gambling with lives<br>May 31st 2001<br>From The Economist print edition <br>A fund to help pay for efforts against AIDS and other diseases deserves generous support<br><br>Get article background<br><br>RICH countries, poor ones, the United Nations, drug companies and non-governmental organisations say they are ready. We can clobber the diseases that kill millions of people each year, says Kofi Annan, the UN’s secretary-general. An independent global fund to pay for additional efforts against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis is well within the means of donors. And though no one has a “magic bullet”, good health programmes exist in some poor countries which, if copied, would spread success. But where’s the money?<br><br>Uganda’s education, testing and prevention work seems to have been effective against AIDS; Brazil’s use of drugs has limited the spread and impact of the disease. Vietnam, using mosquito nets, drugs and education, has cut malaria rates sharply. The World Health Organisation says 50m tuberculosis cases could be averted in the next two decades given testing, education, political will and drugs. Succeed with health programmes, and you are almost sure also to reduce poverty, especially in stricken Africa and Asia. Reduce the spread of these illnesses and the long-term benefits are enormous.<br><br>But, if all agree that a fund is a splendid idea, why won’t they pay for it? Mr Annan says $7 billion-10 billion a year, or more, is needed. Opening bids from donors are expected by mid-June, when the UN General Assembly holds a special session on AIDS. But the first signs are not encouraging. Only America, so far, has pledged anything at all: just $200m. Though the European Commission is likely to give more, others, such as Canada and Japan, must come forward too. <br><br>Donors have a right to reassurance on two points. First, the money must not be spent on anti-AIDS drugs alone, even though the price of those drugs has fallen recently. The most effective way to fight AIDS, as Uganda seems to have shown, is on a wide front: educating and testing patients, paying for nurses and doctors, giving out condoms, as well as using some drugs. By supporting health systems as a whole, the fund should also bolster efforts against malaria and tuberculosis, and ensure proper monitoring when drugs are used. Drug-resistant strains of diseases are thus less likely to emerge. <br><br>Second, the fund itself must not be devoured by a voracious UN bureaucracy. Mr Annan wants an independent board to administer the money, reflecting the interests of donors, recipients, the UN and others. That makes sense. Much of the money would then be channelled through poor countries’ own national health structures. But for that to succeed, those countries’ governments must be open, honest and ready to put resources where they are most needed.<br><br>If Mr Annan can show that his fund will work, the G7 countries should stump up when they meet in Italy in July, and commit themselves to continuing, not just single, payments. The amount of money needed, after all, is not huge: it is about half America’s annual spending on pot-plants and flowers. <br><br><br>***<br>"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." <br> -- Ecclesiastes 10:2
"In the old days, you'd finish a day's work and announce, 'I'm done.' Nobody ever does that now. There's never enough time." -- Elliott Masie
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