WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today lauded six U.S. Senators for urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration to press China on its meager funding commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. As the Global Fund prepares to host its third replenishment conference in New York this week, Senators John Barrasso (WY), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Crapo (ID), James M. Inhofe (OK), Mike Johanns (NE) and James E. Risch (ID) sent a letter to Secretary Clinton asking, “…that you push for accountability of Global Fund money to ensure that U.S. contributions do not fund wealthy public health programs in countries with substantial resources.” The letter, dated September 30th, also noted that, “…each dollar of Global Fund money that goes to China, or other countries with large cash reserves, deprives poor countries of critically needed medicines,” and that “…over the last eight years, China has been one of the largest recipients of Global Fund monies, receiving almost one billion dollars in grants, but contributing less than $16 million.”
“We commend these six Senators for urging Secretary Clinton to demand greater accountability from the Global Fund regarding its AIDS funding priorities,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “As the second largest global economy, the Chinese government should be showing more leadership on HIV/AIDS than it has over the past decade and it should also be shouldering far greater financial responsibility in helping to combat the global epidemic.”
The Senators’ letter also happened to come in the wake of comments made by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the United Nations earlier in September when he urged developed countries to provide the necessary financial and technical assistance to developing countries to fight AIDS. In his remarks, the Chinese Prime Minister stated, “[T]o fight against HIV/AIDS is the common responsibility of mankind.”
“The Chinese Prime Minister is correct in saying that all countries have a common responsibility to fight this terrible disease, but he must also show leadership by increasing his own country’s financial commitment,” added Weinstein. “AHF is renewing its call on China to up its Global Fund funding commitment to at least one billion dollars.”
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, is chairing the Global Fund’s Third Voluntary Replenishment and pledging conference in New York October 4th and 5th. The U.S. is by far the largest donor, having contributed over $4.3 billion to the Global Fund. This accounts for 28% of all donations and is less than .038% of the U.S. GDP. By contrast, China’s contribution ($16 million) accounts for less than .09% of donations to the Global Fund and .0002% of its GDP.
While appreciative of the Senators’ demand for greater Global Fund accountability and an increased funding commitment from China, AHF took strong exception with another component of the Senators’ request to Secretary Clinton: In their letter, the Senators also, “…encourage you and President Obama to reduce the percentage of Global Fund contributions that come from the United States.”
“We simply do not agree with the Senators on their request to Secretary Clinton to also reduce the amount of U.S. funding for the Global Fund,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “Asking the Chinese government to pay its fair share of funding to combat global AIDS is an extremely laudable goal. Asking to reduce U.S. funding for the Global Fund’s lifesaving humanitarian HIV/AIDS programs is not.”
The Global Fund’s replenishment meeting and the politically sensitive issue of contributions from countries like China also come at time of unprecedented success in the global fight against AIDS. The U.N. recently released updated data showing that the number of new HIV infections is steadily falling or stabilizing in most parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where 22 countries have seen a decline of more than 25% in new HIV infections. This success has been fueled by increases in the number of people receiving AIDS treatment; as of December 2009, there are over 5.2 million people on AIDS treatment in low and middle-income countries.
In closing their request letter to Secretary Clinton, the Senators finally urged, “…you and President Obama to use the replenishment meeting to refocus the Global Fund on those most in need...”
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 138,000 individuals in 23 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org