Skip to comments.Tackling AIDS in Africa
Posted on 03/13/2002 12:01:41 PM PST by goodnesswins
Tackling AIDS in Africa
By Richard E. Stearns .... Special to The Times
Six months ago, 19 young men boarded four jetliners and killed nearly 4,000 people. In an unprecedented outpouring of compassion, Americans donated more than a billion dollars in a matter of weeks to care for those affected by the terrorists' attacks and resulting crisis.
Last week, two of our country's leading citizens boarded a plane to call attention to another crisis, one that has already killed 22 million people and threatens to orphan 40 million children by the end of the decade.
Jimmy Carter, America's most-respected former president, is traveling to Africa with a man who has one of the most difficult jobs in America: giving away responsibly more than $20 billion. Bill Gates Sr. is co-director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the father of the richest man in the world.
The visit lends the considerable weight of the Carter and Gates names to the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world, and demonstrates the commitment of their foundations to stop the killing of millions of Africans resulting from AIDS. But will it move Americans to respond with compassion for the widows, orphans and other survivors of the 8,000 people who die of AIDS each day?
Regrettably, most Americans don't care about Africa's AIDS crisis. And our government doesn't care enough.
President George W. Bush has proposed $900 million in spending next year on the AIDS crisis less than the cost to build one cost-overrun-plagued LPD-17 Amphibious Ship for the Navy. And it's about enough to buy a latte and biscotti for every American. In the 20 minutes it takes to drink that latte, more than 100 people will die of AIDS, most of them in developing countries. Every minute, a child dies of AIDS.
The U.S. government is channeling millions of dollars through non-governmental humanitarian organizations, including World Vision, to effectively fight the AIDS crisis. But much more must be done. By the year 2005, 100 million people will have been infected with this fatal disease more than the combined casualties, military and civilian, of World Wars I and II.
America's might was critical to victory over tyranny in the past century; its leadership is essential to winning the war against AIDS in the new century.
AIDS is the greatest challenge to relief and development organizations in a half-century. While facing needs for new services on a massive scale, aid agencies are seeing development gains won through decades of education and development assistance wiped out. For example, average life expectancy in Botswana is predicted to drop below 30 by the year 2010 because of AIDS. Families, communities even entire economies are being wiped out.
Until recently, the disease's long and devastating march across Africa has gone largely unnoticed in the United States. In its first decade, the American public saw AIDS as a disease primarily of homosexuals, drug users and those unfortunate enough to have received tainted blood products.
Its second decade brought more awareness of medical advances that have enhanced and prolonged the lives of countless people, including celebrities like Magic Johnson, who are infected with the AIDS virus. However, by no means is it a manageable, chronic disease in Africa, home to 70 percent of the world's 40 million AIDS cases. In some countries, public spending on health care is just $5 per person. Often, families caring for AIDS patients can barely afford soap, let alone anti-viral drug regimens.
But as the disease headed for its third decade, U.S. media coverage of AIDS in Africa reached the covers of publications such as Time and Newsweek, as well as network television. The public is aware of the AIDS crisis. But most Americans still don't care.
A poll conducted last year by the Barna Research Group found that only 8 percent of Americans would definitely donate money for the international AIDS crisis. By contrast, more than 70 percent of Americans donated to charities helping people affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
While an additional one-third of respondents to the Barna poll said they might give to help Africa's AIDS crisis, more than half said they would not help children orphaned because of AIDS (54 percent) or support AIDS education and prevention overseas (61 percent).
Meanwhile, Africans are tackling their own problems, often without any help from the West.
In the community of Kagera, Tanzania, grandmothers welcomed their children home to die. They didn't want to lose the next generation, too. So each day, the grandmothers sat with their grandchildren under a tree, teaching them what they could. Impressed by their efforts, a local farmer gave them two cows providing milk for the children and a small amount to sell. Another villager donated a plot of land. Today, 40 orphans attend a two-room school.
Eventually, the grandmothers received more help. But first, they demonstrated the inner strength necessary to tackle the AIDS problem and the intuitive understanding of what their grandchildren needed most: education, hope and empowerment.
It's a message we hope our former president and America's leading philanthropist bring home. Africa's AIDS crisis can be solved. But it will take determination on the part of African leaders, leadership by the U.S. government, and generosity by the American people on the scale demonstrated on Sept. 11.
Richard E. Stearns is president of Federal Way-based World Vision (www.worldvision.org). Founded in 1950, World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization, serving the world's poorest children and families in nearly 100 countries.
Copyright © 2002 The Seattle Times Company
The FY 2003 budget request for the NIH, based on current law, is $27,244 million, including VA/HUD appropriated Superfund-related research activities.
The Fiscal Year 2003 President's budget requests $27,335 million for NIH, an increase of $3,902 million, or 16.7% over the FY 2002 estimate, and an increase of $3,712 million or 15.7 percent when including the FY 2002 Emergency Response Fund. This budget request for FY 2003 includes $91.1 million for accrued retirement and health benefits associated with the proposed Managerial Flexibility Act of 2001.
The budget completes the President's commitment to double the FY 1998 appropriation level in five years. Of this amount, $76 million is requested from the Veteran's Administration/Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee for Superfund research activities. The NIH President's budget request to the Labor/Health and Human Services/Education Appropriations Committee is $27,259 million.
Support for AIDS research will increase by $255 million, or 10 percent over the FY 2002 estimate, for a total of $2,770 million. This amount includes accrued costs for the AIDS research program.
The FY 2003 President's budget request will allow NIH to continue its FY 2002 support of $100 million for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis, to further the NIH's efforts to prevent and alleviate these diseases.
Tax-supported research and treatment for AIDS is $2.7 BILLION. I guess that's not enough. AIDS is the most funded medical problem in the world, courtesy of the US taxpayer.
This myth is the excuse for the rampant baby rape crisis in Africa .
Frankly, there are no words.
Your post is just another example of the West trying to impose its cultural values on others. We should just give them all our money and let them do whatever they want. < /sarcasm >
Remember that AIDS is pretty much medically defined as "opportunistic infection" + HIV virus (a definition that's controversial even in the western world). In Africa, HIV is not considered even a requirement.
Since this means that a lot of heterosexuals have "AIDS" in Africa, the PC factor kicks in too
America's might can't stop Africans from sleeping around. Only the Africans can.
I knew after this, there would be little of interest in the rest.
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