U.S. ‘Unmatched Leader’ in Contributions to Global Fund, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson Says in Opinion Piece
The United States under President Bush has been the "unmatched leader" in contributing to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from "day one," HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who also serves as chair of the Global Fund board, writes in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece in response to an Oct. 19 Post-Dispatch editorial (Thompson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/22). The editorial criticized the fact that the Global Fund will issue no new grants over the next eight months because of a lack of available funds, adding that the Bush administration is partly responsible for the fund's liquidity problem (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/21). Although AIDS advocates have called for a $1 billion U.S. donation to the Global Fund for fiscal year 2004, the Bush administration has requested that $200 million go to the Global Fund in FY 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/17). The editorial also says that Bush administration's earmarking of $1 billion of the five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative for abstinence education "ignores the grim realities of life in sub-Saharan Africa" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/21). However, Thompson says the editorial "fail[ed] to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the fund issued just two days before the editorial was published," adding that the United States has paid out $622 million to the fund -- 37% of the total that has been paid into the fund. Bush is "well-aware of the grim realities this terrible disease is inflicting upon families, communities and entire countries," Thompson says, concluding, "It is clear that the president has more than delivered in the global community's fight against HIV/AIDS. He has led it" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.