Canada To Contribute $72M to WHO 3 by 5 Initiative; Pledge Doubles Total Amount of Funding
Canada on Monday pledged $72 million to the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative, doubling the total amount of money pledged so far for the program, the Boston Globe reports (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 5/11). The 3 by 5 Initiative aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to three million HIV-positive people worldwide by 2005. The plan also calls for training 100,000 health care workers, refocusing 10,000 clinics in developing countries to treat HIV/AIDS and using common antiretroviral drug combinations to treat people. However, the plan does not provide the drugs or subsidize their cost (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/12). WHO's $5.5 billion plan needs $200 million in funding over the next two years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/4). Even with Canada's contribution, funding for the initiative remains $70 million short of what is needed to fulfill the goals of the program by the end of next year, according to the Globe (Boston Globe, 5/11). U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis said that the agency thus far has "pull[ed] together" roughly $60 million from "its own sources" and a $7 million contribution from the British government, according to Toronto's Globe and Mail.
Canada's pledge is "tremendously significant," Lewis said, adding, "In the long-term fight against the pandemic, this may turn out to be one of the truly crucial moments." Canada's pledge likely will make it easier to obtain pledges from other donors, according to Lewis, the Globe and Mail reports. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said, "This contribution makes [Canada] the program's leading donor. Canadians can take pride in this because it is a question of life and death" (Clark, Globe and Mail, 5/11). Dr. Jim Yong Kim, director of WHO's Department of HIV/AIDS, said, "Now we are going to essentially build an army to provide the services the WHO has been asked to do." Kim said that "[w]ith this money, we are going to send a group of people all over the world and help ministries of health set up programs to treat people with AIDS" (Boston Globe, 5/11). Irish rock star Bono, who founded the debt, AIDS and trade organization DATA, in a statement lauded Martin, saying, "This is real leadership. I hope Canadians will know what this means in the rest of the world" (Globe and Mail, 5/11).