Countries Attending Global Fund Supporters Meeting ‘Overlook Facts,’ Only ‘Inch Up’ Their Contributions, Opinion Piece Says
The "spin" from each country that attended Wednesday's meeting of supporters of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was "that it is doing no worse than the other rich countries," Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, writes in a Financial Times opinion piece, adding that each country "takes refuge in the fact that it is doing its part and overlooks the fact" that the total amount contributed to the fund so far is "woefully inadequate." The meeting "definitely had its surreal aspects," Sachs adds, saying that the fund is chaired by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson "in spite of the fact that President George W. Bush has essentially starved the fund of financial resources." Sachs says that Thompson was a "peculiar spectacle ... gamely talking up the very fund his president had been undermining." In addition, speakers offered "eloquent testimonials" to the value of the fund in fighting the diseases but "at the end of the day ... only inched up their contributions and failed to commit enough to meet the fund's minimum need of $3 billion for programs in 2004," Sachs says. While the world "should not be overly impressed" by U.S. claims that it is doing enough through other means -- such as bilateral assistance -- or by claims that the country's budget is "too tight," there is also no excuse for Europe's "neglectfulness," according to Sachs. On the closing day of the meeting, "while ... rich countries gave their speeches and paraded their paltry generosity, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria claimed the lives of another 15,000 Africans," Sachs concludes (Sachs, Financial Times, 7/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.