Receiving Liberty Medal, Annan Links AIDS Battle, U.S. Fight for Independence
Speaking in Philadelphia yesterday at an Independence Day ceremony, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan linked the global fight against HIV/AIDS with the United States' "struggle for liberties" ennumerated in the Declaration of Independence (Reuters/New York Times, 7/4). At the ceremony, Annan received the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, which was created in 1988 to honor individuals and organizations demonstrating "leadership in the pursuit of liberty" and carries a $100,000 cash prize. Annan announced in May that he would donate the prize to the Global AIDS and Health Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/4). Speaking to "hundreds of onlookers" outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776, Annan said, "When U.N. medical experts strive to find new ways to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and treat its victims, from Africa to Asia, they are fighting for liberty." Annan also hailed a $200 million contribution to the global AIDS fund made this week by Japan, which brings the fund to $900 million. In addition, Annan called on Congress to allocate $750 million to the fund on top of a $200 million donation already made by the Bush administration. After the speech, Annan told reporters, "In effect, [AIDS] is like a third world war if you consider the numbers of people who have been killed already by this epidemic. We have 30 million orphans already. How many more do we have to get, to wake up?" (Reuters/New York Times, 7/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.