Dominica Needs International Assistance in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece States
The Eastern Caribbean country of Dominica could "protect its economy and its people's health" from HIV/AIDS if its leaders would assert political will and take action to obtain the necessary resources, Melody Duvall and Franklin Huang, medical students at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and co-founders of Students Teaching AIDS to Students -- Dominica, write in a Miami Herald opinion piece. Dominica offers a "case study in the enormous challenges" faced by several countries that are fighting HIV/AIDS, they state, noting that the country's health care system -- ranked above that of the United States by the World Health Organization -- currently has "scant international assistance to bolster its limited resources" and is "severely hampered by a deteriorating economy." HIV/AIDS could further "crippl[e]" this health infrastructure and could "rip [the nation's] society asunder if left unchecked," they note. However, curbing the spread of the disease is a "daunting task," because most international organizations addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic have not yet established programs in the country, they continue. Dominica needs "political will and leadership to obtain and apply th[e] resources" offered by reduced drug prices and such groups as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Duvall and Huang state, concluding, "Partial or delayed action will only make the epidemic harder and more costly to stop" (Duvall/Huang, Miami Herald, 8/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.