Washington Times Examines Whether African Children’s Basic Health Care Is Overshadowed by HIV/AIDS Epidemic
The Washington Times on Sunday examined the child health care "dilemma facing doctors and public health officials" in Africa. Some public health experts are concerned that President Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative could "wind up siphoning money away from other public health crises." Because "resources are limited ... [a]mid huge need," doctors and public health officials are dealing with a "lack of pennies to buy rehydration salts, vaccinations, antibiotics or daily vitamins." According to the World Health Organization, only 3% of child deaths in Africa are attributed to AIDS-related causes, while neonatal complications, often stemming from malnutrition, account for 23% of deaths; respiratory diseases -- primarily pneumonia -- make up 19% of child deaths; and 9% of child deaths are attributed to malaria. Nicholas Eberstadt, a health and population specialist with the American Enterprise Institute, said, "If you're dealing with one disease, you tend to put blinders on the easily preventable deaths." However, Mark Stirling, head of UNICEF's AIDS section, said, "Increasingly, among (basic health) deaths, AIDS is a contributing factor, directly or indirectly." Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council, said, "We have to live in the real world," in which budgetary and political decisions often "trump public health concerns" (Goldfarb, Washington Times, 8/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.