America’s Relationship With African Nations Important in Fight Against AIDS, Terrorism, Op-Eds State
Two op-eds appearing in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel call for greater American involvement in the fight against AIDS in Africa. In the first op-ed, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University and chair of WHO's Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, and Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, a pediatrician, state that "the rich world is an accomplice to the mass deaths in Africa" due to AIDS-related causes. The United States is "spending tens of billions of dollars to fight a war on terrorism that tragically claimed a few thousand American lives. Yet we are spending perhaps 1/100 of that in a war against AIDS that kills more than 5,000 Africans each day," they write. The authors state that the "rich world is running out of excuses," noting that a report by the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health found that allocating only one cent of every $10 of gross national product could save eight million lives each year in developing countries. The authors add that "[e]very misconception we've heard about treating AIDS patients" -- that AIDS drugs "don't work" in resource-poor settings, patients cannot adhere to the drug regimens and doctors are not qualified or cannot be trained -- and every excuse that has been given against debt cancellation -- that it is not "cost effective," that it will "never reach the poor" -- are not true. "The problem is not waste or corruption, the problem is that the extent of help from the United States and Europe is so meager in the face of the enormous crisis," they state, concluding, "The U.S. complicity in Africa's mass suffering, unless reversed, will stain our country. Africa is the place where we will confront our own humanity, our morality, our purpose as individuals and as a country" (Sachs/Sachs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/17).
Fighting HIV/AIDS Will Help War on Terrorism
In a separate op-ed also appearing in the Journal Sentinel, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) states that HIV/AIDS is one "powerful reason for the United States to be engaged with African nations." He notes that the United States has been "inextricably linked with the nations of Africa, by the engines of commerce, by a shared heritage and by a shared interest in health, peace and stability for African peoples." However, HIV/AIDS is "killing the most productive segment of African society and leaving a generation of orphans in its wake." He continues, "Beyond the United States' moral imperative to respond to this health crisis, we must address the HIV/AIDS pandemic to support stability in Africa for the sake of U.S. national security," adding, "In the wake of Sept. 11, the strength of our relationship with the nations of Africa may be more important than ever before" (Feingold, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/17).