Obama’s $63B Global Health Initiative ‘Will Sustain’ PEPFAR, Editorial Says
"President Obama's push to reenergize the fight against the AIDS epidemic in the United States led to concern that he was going to allow U.S. global leadership in fighting the disease to languish," a Washington Post editorial says, adding, "Those fears ought to be calmed after Mr. Obama's announcement Tuesday of an initiative that will sustain" the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
PEPFAR is a "successful" and "groundbreaking program" that a recent study found prevented about 1.2 million deaths, the editorial says. It adds that about $18.8 billion was spent on the program between 2003 and 2008 and that Congress and former President George W. Bush last year authorized $48 billion for PEPFAR over five years. Obama's plan "boosts" global health spending to $63 billion over six years, the editorial says, adding, "PEPFAR would receive the bulk of the funding ($51 billion). The rest would be aimed at averting unintended pregnancies and eliminating some tropical diseases."
According to the editorial, "[e]fforts to end deaths from AIDS will continue to fail until ways are found to slow and eventually halt the number of HIV infections. This task will fall to Dr. Eric Goosby," who earlier this month was named U.S. global AIDS coordinator. "For more than 25 years, Dr. Goosby has fought the epidemic," the editorial says, concluding, "He has helped develop and implement major treatment programs in South Africa, Rwanda, China and Ukraine. Given this vast experience, Mr. Goosby must make it a priority to find ways to bring down the rates of HIV infection" (Washington Post, 5/7).