U.S. Should Increase Commitment to Global Fund, Opinion Piece Says
President Bush's request last week for a $30 billion, five-year extension of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief did not include an "acknowledgment that the U.S. must at the same time increase [its] commitment to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) writes in an opinion piece for The Hill. Lee writes that although PEPFAR "provides critical targeted resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS in 15 countries," the Global Fund "provides broader support to 136 countries ... that have delivered results that are measurable, tangible and very real."
According to Lee, the Global Fund, "[u]nder the leadership" of Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine, has "laid out a plan of operation" and "stands ready to rapidly scale up [the Global Fund's] activities and take the next step toward achieving the goal of universal access to care and treatment for all." However, Global Fund goals "will require the commitment of the international community" and the U.S., Lee writes. To help the Global Fund meet its goals, Lee suggests that Congress allocate $1.3 billion to the organization for fiscal year 2008, which would allow the Global Fund to continue its programs and add new ones.
Results from Global Fund and PEPFAR programs "have been very encouraging," Lee writes, adding that to "achieve sustainable change and reach the goal of universal access," the U.S. "must now plan the next phase of the global response" to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Lee concludes that she is "confident" Congress will respond in a "bipartisan manner to expand" the U.S. "commitment to PEPFAR and ensure that the Global Fund remains an integral component" in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Lee, The Hill, 6/5).
C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Monday included a discussion with David Gartner, policy director for the Global AIDS Alliance, about President Bush's PEPFAR funding request ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 6/4). Video of the segment is available online.