Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
New Director of Global Fund Addresses Funding, Treatment Versus Prevention and Conditional Aid
Richard Feachem, the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, yesterday addressed his organization's need for funding, treatment versus prevention, conditional aid and the fund's future in a speech at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In his first public address since taking over the fund on July 1, Feachem said that the fund "needs a massive increase in resources, and it needs it quickly." So far, the fund, which seeks to serve as a clearinghouse for about $7 billion to $10 billion in international HIV/AIDS funding each year, has received pledges of approximately $2 billion and has "only a few hundred million" in savings (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10). Feachem had drawn criticism from some HIV/AIDS activists for "play[ing] down the impact of the Bush administration's effort to effectively reduce next year's global AIDS funding by $300 million," partly by diverting funds that had been earmarked for the Global Fund, and for not immediately calling for more funding ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/9). Feachem also attempted to clear the "underlying tension" over the debate over the relative merits of treatment versus prevention, saying that the fund is "committed" to providing both. In addition, Feachem addressed whether aid from donor nations will be tied to conditions, such as a requirement to purchase only brand-name drugs with a donor nation's funds, a practice often referred to as "tied-aid." Such aid is "commonplace" in funding deals between two nations, the Chronicle reports. However, in an interview yesterday, Feachem said, "Tied-aid goes out the window" with the Global Fund. Finally, speaking about his organization's future success, Feachem said that the "making or breaking of the Global Fund will be to do our job effectively and transparently." He added that if the fund can manage that task, "we can change the world. If not, we should be closed down" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10).
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