Canada ‘Leading Contributor’ to Global HIV/AIDS Efforts, Canadian Official Says in Opinion Piece
A recent column in the Victoria Times on Canada's response to HIV/AIDS, written by Times columnist Kate Heartfield, "overlook[ed] the real story here -- that Canada is dedicated to getting results" in treating and preventing HIV/AIDS in Canada and worldwide, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda writes in an Ottawa Citizen opinion piece.
Oda continues that she was "disappointed" that Heartfield in the column said that Canada's support to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis was "saccharine." Oda writes that Canadians should "be proud that this government is a leading contributor to the Global Fund," adding that the Canadian government "recently committed an additional $450 million, with a significant portion going to HIV/AIDS." According to Oda, this contribution is the country's largest commitment to global health through an international organization. She writes that "more important than the dollars spent are the results achieved" and that Canada, through the work of the Global Fund, has "touched the lives of countless worldwide." She notes that as of 2008, the Global Fund has "provided 1.75 million people with antiretroviral treatment; provided medical services, education and community care to 2.8 million orphans; and supported 46 million HIV testing and counseling sessions." In addition, Canada's contributions to the World Health Organization's "3 by 5 Initiative" allowed three million people to receive antiretroviral drugs by 2007, and the country continues to be one of the largest supporters to this effort, Oda writes.
She continues that Canada's investment of $84 million in 2008-2009 is a historical high and that the Public Health Agency of Canada, through the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, is "investing $45 million over the next two years in national and community-based funding for AIDS service organizations." She concludes, "Canada's commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS is evident through its partnerships with dedicated Canadian and international organizations, as well as donor and recipient countries. Together, we can stop AIDS. And that is something to be celebrated, not dismissed" (Oda, Ottawa Citizen, 5/11).