Blair Launches Britain’s New $2.4B Strategy for Fighting Global AIDS
British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday launched the country's new $2.8 billion three-year strategy to fight global HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports (Reuters, 7/20). The new plan will include about $278 million for AIDS orphans and a doubling to $278 million of the country's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The plan outlines how the country will work with other donors, multilateral organizations and affected countries to coordinate international efforts; find ways to increase funding; and improve health, education and human rights in developing countries (Boseley, Guardian, 7/20). Blair announced details of the plan at a breakfast meeting with HIV-positive women and children, as well as UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot. Blair has said that he will put the fight against AIDS at the forefront of his agenda over the next year when Britain holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union and chairs the Group of Eight summit (Associated Press, 7/20). "Ignoring the issue of AIDS is simply not an option," Blair said, adding, "This is a tragedy that spans personal and global scales and it is appalling that life expectancy in some of the worst affected areas is falling back to pre-1950 levels" (Guardian, 7/20). The new strategy is "partly about money to take advantage of the fact that the price of antiretroviral treatment is now coming down ... and it's partly about leadership," Britain's International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said, adding, "We look around the world at countries like Uganda, like Senegal, like Thailand, where strong leadership has helped to reduce the HIV prevalence rate by giving people the information they need to protect themselves" (Reuters, 7/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.