International Red Cross, Red Crescent Devotes 40% of Budget To Fighting HIV/AIDS, Other Infectious Diseases
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Tuesday announced that 40% of its 2004 appeal will be devoted to fighting HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The federation plans to spend $173 million in 2004 to help the 13 million people worldwide who die annually from infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The main focus of the organization next year will be fighting HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately $63 million is needed (Haynes, AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/16). "The International Federation has never before devoted such a significant percentage of its annual appeal to supporting health programs," federation Secretary-General Markku Niskala said, adding, "This reflects a profound change in the approach of an organization which has built its reputation on responding to natural disasters" (SAPA/AFP/Star, 12/17). The federation devoted 20% of its budget to battling infectious diseases in 2000. Despite increased spending by other organizations to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, the diseases infected more people last year than ever before, according to Alvaro Bermejo, head of health for the federation, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "This is showing us that the response today is not adequate enough," Bermejo said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/16). Niskala added, "Clearly our member ... societies are more focused on the fact that around 13 million people die each year from infectious diseases," adding, "Last year, 24,500 people died from natural disasters" (Reuters/Independent Online, 12/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.