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Global Health Advocates Call for Pan-African Voices to Speak Up
Date:5/19/2009

Letter from an African Man Living with HIV/AIDS Presented to the White House

"It is not morally right for the President to cut down on the U.S. global health contribution, especially on AIDS. Cutting the budget for global AIDS funding is tantamount to genocide, and Mr. Obama shall be held accountable for deaths that will ensue." -- Felix Mwanza, Open Letter to President Obama, May 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a press conference held today in Nairobi, global health advocates, including Global AIDS Alliance (GAA) executive director Dr. Paul Zeitz, called for a pan-African response to fix the funding gap in President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget request submitted to the U.S. Congress on 7 May 2009.

When President Barack Obama released his US$3.6 trillion budget on May 7, he broke two campaign promises and created a total shortfall of US$3.3 billion in U.S. support for global AIDS funding through U.S. bilateral AIDS programs, including PEPFAR, and for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "President Obama also sent a message to world governments that it is acceptable to underfund global health, in particular the Global Fund," said Dr. Zeitz. "The Global Fund is already facing a financial gap, and this will only make it worse by setting the wrong example."

"The people of Africa must speak out and tell President Obama, a son of Kenya, that he must meet his promises to those who are affected by HIV/AIDS," said James Kamau, of the Kenya Treatment Action Movement, Nairobi.

Also speaking was Felix Mwanza of Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (Zambia). "It is not morally right for the President to cut down on the U.S. global health contribution, especially on AIDS. Cutting the budget for global AIDS funding is tantamount to genocide, and Mr. Obama shall be held accountable for deaths that will ensue," said Mr. Mwanza, quoting from his Open Letter to President Obama, which was sent to the White House on May 18th. (The full text of this letter is linked in the "Resources" section of this release.)

GAA estimates that as a consequence of President Obama's broken promises on U.S. bilateral AIDS programs:

  • One million people around the world won't receive treatment for AIDS.
  • 2.9 million women won't receive services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • 27 million people won't access sexual disease transmission prevention programs.
  • 1.9 million orphans and other children affected by or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS won't receive care and support services.

The press conference closed with a call to the people of Africa to raise their voices by contacting in-country representatives of the U.S. government, including American Embassies, PEPFAR and USAID regional offices, local offices of the American Chambers of Commerce, and by email to President Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, to demand full funding of PEPFAR and the Global Fund.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR THIS STORY:

GAA Press Release on President Obama's Global Health Budget:

http://www.globalaidsalliance.org/page/-/PDFs/GAA_FY10_Budget_Release_050709.pdf

GAA Fact Sheet on President Obama's Four Broken Campaign Promises: http://www.globalaidsalliance.org/page/-/PDFs/Broken_Promises_Factsheet_May_2009.pdf

Open Letter to President Obama from Mr. Felix Mwanza of Zambia

http://www.globalaidsalliance.org/page/-/PDFs/Felix_Mwanza_Open_Letter_to_Barack_Obama.pdf


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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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