President Bush uttered some remarkable words about AIDS in his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening - more decisive and action-oriented words than we've heard from any US President while in office. Bush acknowledged the severity of the crisis; he said the US should play the leading role in tackling it; and he accepted the need for widespread treatment programmes.
The following represents excerpts from a Press Briefing on 8 January by Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa:
"Last month, I spent two weeks touring four countries in Southern Africa: Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. The primary purpose was to view the link between hunger and AIDS...
The Global Fund has introduced the concept of Local Fund Agents (LFAs) to be the Fund's eyes and ears on the ground, to provide help in assessing arrangements for implementation, to endorse requests for disbursements, and to cover the entire life-cycle of the proposals. But is this really what LFAs should be doing? And why is it necessary for this role to be played by Western-owned firms?
The Global Fund is in a precarious financial plight. Of the $7.9 billion that the Fund needs to receive during 2003 plus 2004, only $1 billion has been pledged.
The Global Fund's Secretariat has calculated that the Fund will need to receive $3 billion in 2003 and $4.9 billion in 2004. (It bases this on its estimates of how many proposals worthy of approval will be received in future rounds.)
Of the two-year $7.9 billion requirement, the total currently pledged to be given to the Fund during those two years (plus the amount left over from 2002) comes only to about $1 billion.
Following are brief excerpts from contributions to the first three Postings of the GFO Discussion Forum. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of GFO or Aidspan.
Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund, provided some useful insights during a media conference call on 19 November 2002 organized by RESULTS and Health GAP (Global Access Project). Some quotes are as follows:
On the AIDS pandemic:
No resolution has yet been reached regarding the Global Fund's disputed grant to KwaZulu Natal (KZN), one of South Africa's nine provinces. The grant, for $72 million over 5 years, was approved in Round One, eight months ago.
Welcome to the Global Fund Observer Newsletter. Over 1,000 people signed up for the Newsletter within 24 hours of its being announced on December 18, with many more since. One third of the Newsletter subscribers have also signed up to participate in the GFO Discussion Forum.
Over the past eighteen months, Aidspan has written a number of papers about the Global Fund, and has collected all the others it could find. A full list of those that are believed to be in the public domain is provided below. Some of these are not available anywhere else on the Web. Each can be read at or downloaded from the Aidspan web site, at www.aidspan.org/globalfund.