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Opinions: Africans Fight Malaria; Access To AIDS Treatment; Noncommunicable Disease Summit; Maternal, Child Health Efforts

Africans’ Involvement Helps Fight Malaria On The Continent

In an East African opinion piece, U.N. Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers; Mark Green, the director of the Malaria No More Policy Center; and John Bridgeland, vice chairman of Malaria No More, highlight Africans’ involvement in addressing malaria on the continent.

They note recent initiatives by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. “One private sector leader who’s seen this work on the ground in Africa for years put it this way, ‘foreign aid comes and goes and progress on malaria comes and goes. But this movement is a new model of governance – the first time African leaders are embracing their own destinies, married with sufficient resources to get the job done. This is malaria’s moment,'” Chambers, Green and Bridgeland write. “Barriers clearly remain. But malaria is no longer a disease of apathy because African leaders and the citizens they represent are embracing the view that Africa’s future is up to Africans,” the conclude (5/14).

Universal Access To AIDS Treatment Is A ‘Distant Dream’

Referring to series of recent articles about efforts to fight HIV/AIDS abroad, a New York Times editorial states: “The global war on AIDS has racked up enormous successes over the past decade, most notably by providing drugs for millions of infected people in developing countries who would be doomed without this life-prolonging treatment. Now the campaign is faltering.”

“The United States has been a leader in providing financing for the war on AIDS through bilateral programs and a multilateral global fund. Now, instead of a sharp increase in donations, as once planned, the administration proposes only a slight increase in bilateral financing and a modest reduction in its multilateral contribution,” according to the editorial. The U.S. “has shifted its focus to childhood diseases, keeping young mothers alive, and interrupting the transmission of HIV between mother and child. It is pushing countries to improve their medical delivery systems, manage their own AIDS programs and contribute more of their own funds,” the newspaper continues. “Those are good goals. But the AIDS pandemic is still spreading. And the goal of universal access to treatment remains a distant dream” (5/13).

Time For U.N. Noncommunicable Disease Summit

A CNN opinion piece, written by three CEO’s – Nancy Brown of the American Heart Association, Larry Hausner of the American Diabetes Association, and John Seffrin of the American Cancer Society – highlights the worldwide prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. “In all regions of the world except Africa, mortality rates are higher for noncommunicable diseases than for communicable diseases among men and women age 15 to 59,” they write.

According to Brown, Hausner and Seffrin, the Obama administration’s Global Health Initiative “should include meaningful funding for noncommunicable diseases. Such funding should be based on the many cost-effective solutions to prevent or treat these diseases, which can be integrated into existing global health programs.” The writers discuss the need for a U.N. summit on noncommunicable diseases to “mobilize the international community to take action and secure the commitment of heads of state to address this neglected epidemic of epidemics.”

A resolution calling for such a summit is being introduced at the U.N., according to the writers who call on Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., the State Department and all governments to support the resolution. “Now, more than ever, the world’s leaders must take steps to balance the global response to both communicable and noncommunicable diseases, especially in low- and middle-income countries where the burden of noncommunicable diseases continues to grow unchecked and underappreciated” (5/13).

Coordinate Global Maternal, Child Health Initiatives To Save Lives 

“Children and pregnant women [around the world] are dying needlessly. … The tools to stop this are proven and often very low-cost. Using them, we could prevent an estimated two-thirds of 8.8 million annual child deaths and three-quarters of 343,000 maternal deaths,” according to a Politico opinion piece by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), author of the Global Child Survival Act, and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), chair of Save the Children’s Survive to 5 Campaign.

Dodd and Frist outline some of the most effective interventions and highlight some countries’ successes. They write: “At both the G8 summit in June and the Millennium Development Goals summit in September, the hosts Canada and the United Nations plan to push world leaders to make new commitments on maternal and child health. The Obama administration has expressed support. All Americans can help more mothers and children live by supporting increased funding from Congress and pending legislation – the Global Child Survival Act in the Senate, and the Newborn, Child and Mother Survival Act in the House.”

According to Dodd and Frist, “By coordinating new efforts to fund and promote maternal, newborn and child health, Congress, the president and other world leaders can save the lives of millions of moms and kids” (5/9). 

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