Debt Service Funds Could Be Used To Fight AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
One of the "devastating realities" of the global economy is that the funds developing nations use to repay debts "could be used to fight AIDS," Marie Clarke, national coordinator for the Jubilee USA Network, writes in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece. During the three-day Group of Eight summit this week in Sea Island, Ga., about 19,500 Africans will die from AIDS-related illnesses, and African countries will send approximately $123 million in debt service payments to G8 countries, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, according to Clarke. G8 representatives should "try to talk about economic challenges to fight AIDS and meet development goals," Clarke says, adding that the G8 nations "can help to build a better, safer world by meeting the challenges of the global economy." The G8 "must instruct the IMF and World Bank to cancel 100% of the debt of impoverished countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America," Clarke says. "Initial" debt relief has "provide[d] money that has been saving lives," but it has "been too little, too slow and for too few countries," she says. African nations spend nearly $15 billion annually in debt service but need $10 billion each year to combat HIV/AIDS, Clarke says. She challenges the G8 to "[d]o the math" and then take the "Drop the Debt Challenge" because "people around the world who are barely surviving demand real action" (Clarke, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.