GWB HIV WTF part 2
This post was written by MJ on 31st Jan, 2003
AIDS activists continue to be pleased, and not a little bit shocked, by US President George W Bush’s promise of $10-billion to fight the pandemic in Africa and the Caribbean.
“That must be million,” thought Mulusew Bekele, director of health programs for the New-York-based African Services Committee. “I had to look it up on CNN.com that he actually said billion.”
But neither the president’s motivations, nor the exact details of the plan, both earlier sources of TNF speculation, have become any less unclear in the last days.
Stephanie Nolen, the Globe’s fine African correspondent, wrote Thursday that GWB’s pledge sprang from a change of heart amongst him and top administration officials: “Those involved in an intense lobbying effort said that in the past six months, the President heard from all quarters about AIDS in Africa. His treasury secretary, his spiritual counsellor, his most trusted security advisers, his Republican colleagues, all urged him to make history.”
Like TNF surmised, the previous AIDS advocacy work of new Senate majority leader Bill Frist and the bald warnings in a public CIA report on the geo-political implications of continued infections made a difference, Nolen reports.
And some Irish midget had a walk on part, too.
But how the money will be spent is unclear. In an article on allAfrica.com, Prega Ramsamy, executive secretary of the Southern Africa Development Community, said the money should be dispersed to small-scale community projects if it is to have any real effect on people’s lives. “We need to make sure that it filters down to the level of people that most need it.” But Stephen Lewis, former Canadian politician and the UN’s special rapporteur on AIDS, wants the money dumped into the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.