Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Merck CEO Calls for Broad Partnerships Between Businesses, Governments and Organizations to Fight HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa
Merck CEO Ray Gilmartin last week urged pharmaceutical companies, U.N. agencies, large employers and governments to band together to fight HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, the Financial Times reports. Gilmartin said that these groups could form a "constructive partnership" to more effectively fight the epidemic in the region, adding, "I think people are welcoming (private sector) involvement in areas (traditionally) of government activity. They welcome companies doing something" (Lamont, Financial Times, 9/12). Botswana began offering antiretroviral treatment this year through a partnership with Merck and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Botswana is currently the only nation in the region that provides antiretroviral therapy through its public health system (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/12). Gilmartin acknowledged that many African nations cannot afford the cost of antiretroviral drugs, but added that he hopes the Botswana initiative will convince other governments to form partnerships with charities, drug makers and local businesses. "We are trying to create a model that other countries in the region can look to," Gilmartin said. More than 20% of the "economically active" population of Southern Africa is HIV-positive, according to the Times (Financial Times, 9/12).
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