Boston Globe Examines PEPFAR, Profiles Tobias
The Boston Globe on Sunday examined the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which will provide $15 billion over five years to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and profiled U.S. Ambassador Randall Tobias, former CEO of Eli Lilly and head of the State Department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator. In some countries, such as South Africa, U.S. officials working with the initiative "have won praise from local groups for their support and openness," but in other countries -- including Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda -- "communication problems and uncertainty over U.S. funding of generic drugs or condoms have slowed progress," the Globe reports. In addition, some HIV/AIDS advocates have said "the program is moving too slowly; that it is wasting money by buying more expensive brand-name drugs instead of cheaper generic medicine; and that the prevention strategy has become a tool of the religious right" by focusing too much on abstinence and not enough on other prevention methods, such as condom use and monogamy, according to the Globe. Some of the "first meaningful markers" of the program will come in the next few weeks, the Globe reports. The United States and United Nations next month are expected to announce how many people in developing countries have received antiretroviral treatment, and FDA soon is expected to determine whether to approve some generic antiretroviral drugs for use in the program. During a recent weeklong trip to Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, Tobias "repeatedly stressed the importance of supporting local leaders and local solutions," the Globe reports. He said, "We have to listen to them. We're not here implementing our strategy but implementing their strategy" (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 12/19).
NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" included a report on the Global Fund and interviewed some of its board members as they toured health facilities in rural Kenya. The segment includes comments from Assunta Agora, founder of the Kenya Network of Women With AIDS/HIV; Dr. James Gesami, chief medical officer for Kenya's Nyanza Province; Elizabeth Hoff, who oversees the fund's work in nine East African countries; and Anyang Nyongo, Kenya's minister of planning (Beaubien, "Weekend Edition Sunday," NPR, 12/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.