By Rolf Rosenkranz on 9 August 2010
HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases not only threaten the lives of millions of people around the globe – they also hamper economic growth and international development. They not only bring tragedy to one person, but also to their community and country.
This understanding has fueled a growing international battle against HIV and other major diseases. Lately, however, concerns have also grown about new approaches taken by some of the world’s largest donors, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Ten years ago, world leaders set ambitious targets for reversing the spread of HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases by 2015 and achieving universal access to HIV-AIDS treatment by this year. Progress toward achieving these – and other – Millennium Development Goals has been impressive, despite the many challenges posed by conflict, climate change and financial calamities.
But the aid community is also faced with a host of fundamental questions, such as these: Will more people die as funding levels off, or have we just got more effective at negotiating lower drug prices, or more efficient at producing insecticide-treated mosquito nets? Should there be a greater focus on disease prevention or treatment? How can cultural and religious issues be addressed that affect the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS?
World leaders are gathering later this year to take stock of the fight against major diseases. The Sept. 20-22 United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York promises to revitalize and refocus the international community on proven strategies for educating youth and women about disease, for reducing mother-to-child transmissions, and for delivering proper medication to people in need.
This is a unique opportunity for those on the front lines of the global fight against HIV-AIDS and other major diseases to tell policymakers what is going on in the field – which approaches have proven successful, and which challenges remain.
Tell us how your work is helping to reverse the spread of HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Your experience and knowledge is key to one of the most important initiatives of our time.