Economist Examines Progress of WHO’s 3 by 5 Initiative
The Economist on Saturday examined the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative, which aimed to have three million HIV-positive people in developing countries receiving antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2005. The initiative "missed its target," but the situation is "not a disaster," the Economist reports (Economist, 4/1). According to a report released last week, the initiative provided 1.3 million people in developing countries with access to the drugs. The number of HIV-positive people in developing countries receiving antiretrovirals at the end of 2005 was more than three times greater than the number receiving treatment in 2003, Kevin De Cock, director of WHO's HIV/AIDS Department, said. He also said the agency believes between 250,000 and 350,000 deaths were prevented by 3 by 5 in 2005 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/28). Although 3 by 5's goal "was not quite plucked out of the air," it "was, in retrospect, absurdly optimistic," according to the Economist. One of the main challenges the initiative faced was the lack of infrastructure needed to provide wide-scale access to antiretrovirals in most countries. However, "the initiative may have been more successful than the headline figure suggests" because part of its funding has gone toward building needed infrastructure, including clinics, laboratories and training for health care workers, according to the Economist. In addition, 3 by 5 has made additional progress in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including addressing the market for and price of antiretrovirals (Economist, 4/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.