Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who says white collar crime doesn't kill?

Greetings from sunny Beirut, where I'm participating in a fantastic manuscript writing workshop for Middle Eastern and North African scientists who are contributing to a special edition of AIDS in the coming year.

As usual, I've been monitoring HIV/AIDS updates in the news and came across an alarming Inter Press Service article that breathes life into concerns about the impact of the global economic crisis on HIV/AIDS prevention and services worldwide. Here's a snippet:
The IPS report indicates that Tanzania was the first sub-Saharan country to announce a 25 per cent cut of its annual HIV/Aids budget. It goes on to reveal, “The South African government has indicated that large private firms, especially mining companies, are likely to cut their HIV prevention programmes affecting thousands of employees and their families. Even worse, Botswana’s presidential spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, recently announced that the government will not be able to include new patients in its free antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme from 2016 onwards because it does not have sufficient funds to expand the programme.

The article goes on to report that many countries in sub-saharan Africa are preparing to cut drastically their provision of HIV treatment and care and that even the Global Fund is looking at significant financial shortcomings for critical prevention programming.

The article continues:
Researchers estimate the negative impact of this crisis will affect 70 per cent of people on ARV treatment in Africa within the next twelve months.

Unbelievable. This should help put the scandalous behaviors of the architects of this economic crisis into sharper relief, highlighting the true cost of unadulterated greed and poorly regulated financial systems. Time will tell if the Obama admin truly understands this and fixes financial markets.

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