Los Angeles Times Editorial Offers Strategies For Bush Administration To Follow To Create International AIDS Plan
Although President Bush has said that the AIDS pandemic "staggers the imagination and shocks the conscience," a Los Angeles Times editorial states that "urgent words do not amount to U.S. funding and action." The Times notes that Jeffrey Sachs, an adviser on AIDS to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said that the Bush administration has "no coherent AIDS strategy." However, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Health and Science Jack Chow said during a conference call with journalists on Wednesday that the administration plans to ask Congress for a $5 billion increase in development aid "to those countries that demonstrate progress (in) ... government efficiency, increase investment in public goods such as clinics, hospitals or roads and provide economic opportunities for people at the grass-roots level." The editorial states, "That sounds promising, but the administration has yet to detail how it will navigate the often bitter politics of international AIDS funding." The Times then offers three "principles that can help" the administration come up with an international AIDS strategy before Bush travels to sub-Saharan Africa on Jan. 13:
- The administration should not ignore people who live in countries that have "less-than-model governments," because the U.S.'s development aid "could end up as little more than a cynical end run around" the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which works to combat infectious disease "in the regions that need help most, whether or not their governments epitomize modern democratic ideals."
- The United States should increase its spending in the fight against AIDS. Currently, the government's contribution of $800 million annually is the smallest of any wealthy nation based on percentage of gross domestic product.
- The administration should urge drug companies to allow developing nations to make and import cheaper, generic versions of patented drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other "epidemics of similar gravity," the Times writes. In addition, the government should reject pressure from "anti-trade activists."
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