PEPFAR Money Should Go to Local Agencies, Multilateral Organizations, Opinion Piece Says
Most of the funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief "actually ends up in U.S. hands" of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations and pharmaceutical companies, "rather than going to Africans or their institutions," Stephen Gloyd, director of the International Health Program at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, writes in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer opinion piece. Because much of PEPFAR money goes through U.S. NGOs and drug companies, it is "likely that less than 25% of PEPFAR aid value actually goes to recipient-country people or institutions," Gloyd says, adding that African governments will be "lucky to see" a total of $3 billion to $4 billion of the $15 billion the Bush administration pledged to spend on PEPFAR over five years. "Worse still," African governments during the past two decades have been paying rich countries $15 billion per year in debt repayments -- money that could "cover all AIDS treatment costs, improve crumbling health services and provide much-needed ... basic services" in the poor countries, Gloyd says. "The sum effect is that poor countries of Africa are subsidizing the rich countries while the rich country governments are putting aid money into their home-country organizations in the name of poor Africans," Gloyd says. Therefore, rich countries should forgive African countries' debts to "liberate a huge sum of money" to train health workers, pay salaries, buy medicines and improve health infrastructure, Gloyd says. Rich countries also should "provide external support through institutions that can provide money to local agencies in Africa," Gloyd says, adding that institutions such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria can "channel such money much more efficiently than PEPFAR." Gloyd concludes, "The time to act is now" (Gloyd, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.