LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today called on The Global Fund to revisit its all-too-bureaucratic rejection of a request for assistance to help Venezuelan AIDS patients under the misguided pretext that Venezuela is simply ‘not eligible’ for GF funding as it is technically classified as a high-income country—despite the economic and humanitarian crisis that the entire world has witnessed roiling the turbulent South American nation over the past year.
In an open letter sent to Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund; Norbert Hauser, the GF Board Chair and the entire Global Fund Board, AHF President Michael Weinstein chastised the Fund’s knee-jerk rejection of the Venezuelan call for help and urged Global Fund leaders to reconsider and act quickly to provide funding and assistance.
Following is text of the AHF letter:
20 January 2017
Dear Mr. Hauser, Mr. Dybul and Members of the Global Fund Board,
Six months ago you received a desperate plea for help from the Venezuelan Network of Positive People. As you well know, this country is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and social collapse akin to a war zone or an epicenter of a natural disaster.
There is a severe shortage of all basic necessities of life; People are dying of starvation.
Irrespective of the causes that brought about this crisis, the situation calls for urgent help in the spirit of compassion and empathy for the suffering of fellow human beings. Instead, the Global Fund took seven months to respond that it could do nothing because Venezuela is “…among high-income non-OECD countries and as such is not eligible [for funding].”
The logic of this thinly veiled excuse for doing nothing, while people affected by HIV, malaria and tuberculosis are suffering and dying, is absurd. Under the current circumstance, to say that Venezuela is a high-income country is to profess deep ignorance or indifference to the world events beyond the insular bubble of Geneva.
What’s more, the policies that you allege prevent the Global Fund from helping Venezuela, are its own creation. They can be changed or suspended under such extraordinary circumstance. The Global Fund Board has done so before by implementing special provisions for “challenging operating environments.” The policies must be subservient to the mission, and the mission of the Global Fund is to invest the World’s money to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Global Fund has the means and the responsibility to help the people of Venezuela. We urge you, as the leaders of the Fund to take action and overcome the red tape of bureaucracy. The Global Fund has already acknowledged that the World Bank income level classifications should not be part of the allocation formula. We call on the Global Fund Board to immediately put to a vote and approve the necessary policy amendments that would allow the Fund to provide urgently needed help to Venezuela.
Michael Weinstein, AHF President
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 678,000 clients in 38 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare