Basic needs in Africa should be given extra emphasis

With HIV/AIDS programs and projects reaping unprecedented results worldwide, donors should shift their attention towards the other, and equally important, needs of poor countries. “The fact is, spending USD50 billion or more on foreign health assistance does make sense, but only if it is not limited to HIV-AIDS programs,” wrote International Herald Tribune columnist Daniel Halperin. He pointed out the gross imbalance in spending on AIDS programs compared to other projects such as basic public health needs, access to safe water, prenatal care and family planning. “The United States spent almost USD3 billion on AIDS programs in Africa, it invested only about USD30 million in traditional safe-water projects. This nearly 100-to-1 imbalance is disastrously inequitable - especially considering that in Africa HIV tends to be most prevalent in the relatively wealthiest and most developed countries,” stated Halperin. “It is also important, especially for the United States, the world’s largest donor, to re-examine the epidemiological and moral foundations of its global health priorities. With 10 million children and a half million mothers in developing countries dying annually of largely preventable conditions, should we multiply AIDS spending while giving only a pittance for initiatives like safe-water projects?” he added.

Source: Putting AIDS in perspective (The International Herald Tribune)

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