Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
AFP/Yahoo! News Profiles Director of Gates Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Project in India
AFP/Yahoo! News on Wednesday profiled Ashok Alexander, director of Avahan -- the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's five-year, $200 million program to fight HIV/AIDS in India. Alexander -- who is the son of politician P.C. Alexander, who served as chief of staff under former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi -- in 2003 quit his "highly paid" job as a director for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company to run Avahan, which aims to increase condom use and decrease the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in six "high-risk" Indian states, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. Although Alexander's "elite contacts" were important in his previous position, "they didn't prepare him for understanding how HIV is cutting a swathe through India's poorest," the AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "I always knew [HIV/AIDS] was a problem, but didn't understand how big it was," Alexander said, adding, "The easiest part, I thought, would be to get corporate India to help." However, he said that many companies in India are still "ignoring" the epidemic, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. A "major" part of Alexander's job is to "make [the] case better" for the Indian government to spend more money on HIV/AIDS programs, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. The government currently spends about $146 million, or about 29 cents per person, annually to fight HIV/AIDS, but Avahan estimates India needs to spend at least $1 billion annually on HIV/AIDS programs, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. The current funding amount is not completely spent each year, and India prevents larger donations from foreign organizations by "insisting money come through its hands," although the government has made an exception for the Gates Foundation, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 2/1).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.