Focus On Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic Distracted From Family Planning Efforts, U.N. Population Fund Head Says

“The international community has ‘made a mistake’ with the intensity of its focus on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and lost ground on family planning issues as a result,” Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPF), said in an interview with the Guardian. “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health,” the newspaper adds.

“By criticizing decades of development policy by the U.N. and world governments, Osotimehin’s remarks are hugely controversial,” the Guardian notes, adding, “Experts on HIV/AIDS and population challenged his views.” “‘I find it difficult to understand how any development leader can believe that funding for AIDS in Africa was a distraction from other priorities. AIDS was, and continues to be, a make-or-break emergency in much of sub-Saharan Africa,’ said Siddharth Dube, a former senior adviser at UNAIDS and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York,” the newspaper writes (Goldenberg, 10/24).