For immediate release:
July 21, 2009

Contacts: Gorik Ooms in Cape Town, Gregg Gonsalves, Kay Marshall,

Advocates for Health Millennium Development Goals Unite to Demand World
Leaders Honor Funding Commitments

Found: Hundreds of Billions of Dollars to Save the Wealthiest Corporations
Lost: Billions of Dollars of G8 Commitments to Save Millions of Human Lives

Cape Town — In an unprecedented and historic show of unity, advocates for
all the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have charged the leaders
of G-8 countries with reneging on their commitments to health by chronically
underfunding programs for AIDS, TB, maternal and child health, sexual and
reproductive health, and health systems strengthening across the globe.

The coalition of advocates demands that world leaders make the health of men,
women, and children around the world as important a priority as the health of
banks, Wall Street investment firms, and auto companies and calls on donor
governments to partner with civil society to strengthen accountability from
recipient countries.

Read more

“We are already seeing people die and families forced further into poverty by
healthcare costs as a direct result of this global economic crisis,” said Dr.
Lola Dare, Executive Secretary of the African Council for Sustainable Health
Development (ACOSHED). “The fickle policy decisions of world leaders and
national government are further compounding these problems. The global
health community is speaking with one voice on this urgent need. We can no
longer permit the world to be distracted by false choices – between one
disease and another, between a mother’s life and that of her children,
between treating sick people now, in their home communities, and building
sustainable health systems for the future to deliver basic health care that
can save lives.”
“Investments now in HIV and health broadly are fundamental prerequisites for
global development,” said Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS
Society.

The global economic downturn is leading to significant backsliding in
governments’ commitments to funding for health programs in developing
countries. “The rhetoric by heads of state at this year’s G-8 summit was, as
usual, noble and righteous. They produced statements about their support for
health systems strengthening, maternal and child health, and integrated
health service delivery,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a co-founder of the
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition.
“But, as has come to be the unfortunate pattern, the financial commitments
made by the most powerful of the world were unacceptably low or worse, not
made at all.”

“At least a million additional lives are in jeopardy because of this economic
crisis. We are calling for the world’s richest countries to support their
words with concrete action and back up their promises with the money
necessary to fulfill them,” said Ann Starrs, President of Family Care
International.

“We estimate that to meet the promised health needs of less developed
countries would take an increased investment by high income countries and
developing country governments of around $150 billion a year . The AIG
bailout alone was $170 billion,” said Brook Baker, Professor of Law at
Northeastern University and Policy Analyst for the US-based Health GAP. “Or
to look at it another way, for 36% of what countries have spent in one year
on direct bailouts of corporate and financial interests, rich countries alone
could fully fund the additional $944 billion that we estimate is needed from
now through 2015 to meet all MDG and health systems strengthening needs in
less developed countries.” Developed countries have so far contributed over
$2.5 trillion in direct bailouts and over $6 trillion in ‘guarantees.’

“All we seem to be getting from the bailouts so far is record level projected
bonus payouts for Wall Street,” added Gonsalves. “But we know with one
hundred percent certainty that many more people will die in 2010 because of
this bailout, probably 100 times as many as the 13,000 Goldman Sachs
employees who are projected to get compensation of over $500,000 each.”

The coalition of global health advocates demands that each G-8 country pays
100% of the commitments they have made for 2010 including: for Universal
Access to AIDS treatment, prevention, and care; full funding for the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as well as additional
commitments made for maternal child health and health systems strengthening.

“The fact that governments have quickly passed legislation to bailout the
banks and companies that created this global financial crisis proves that
there is sufficient capital to support those whose lives have been most
affected by the crisis. What is needed is sufficient will,” said Donna Barry
of Partners In Health in the USA.

The U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been flat
funded for three years; the G-8 countries have underfunded the Global Fund
for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by $4 to 9 billion; donor country promises
to fund maternal and child health and sexual and reproductive health programs
are wholly insufficient to the task; and no G-8 country has made sufficient
commitments to contribute significantly to expanding and strengthening the
health workforce, to supporting community-based prevention and care, or to
strengthening health systems and health infrastructure.

“The global economic situation cannot be used as an excuse to renege on
financial commitments,” said Kieran Daly, Executive Director of the
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO). “Hundreds of
billions of dollars, pounds, and euros magically appeared to bail out global
financial markets and corporations. We do not want to believe that this
bailout came at the cost of millions of human lives.”

“The only way we will make real progress on meeting the MDGs is for donor
countries to engage with developing country governments, and for developing
country governments to commit financially and politically to revitalizing
their national health systems to meet the challenges of HIV, sexual and
reproductive health, maternal health, child survival and other health
problems. Governments also can not forget that before 2015, they have other
goals to meet, including UNGASS-AIDS 2010 and the Cairo Plan of Action,” said
Alessandra Nilo of GESTOS in Brazil.

Leaders representing advocates for more than 25 organizations focused on
AIDS, TB, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health and
primary health care came together in Stony Point, New York in May
2009 to initiate a partnership devoted to advocating for the universal right
to health. A Declaration of Solidarity for a Unified Movement for the Right
to Health was drafted at that meeting, and is being endorsed by health and
human rights organizations around the world .
This growing union of advocates, many of whom are signed on to this document,
is now working in solidarity to hold the powers of the world accountable.

“We are all health and human rights advocates and we refuse to be pitted
against each other,” said Paula Akugizibwe of the AIDS and Rights Alliance
for Southern Africa, “MDGs are simply categories of different needs that
exist within the same human being. The same mother who needs ART to prevent
the transmission of HIV to her infant also needs adequate nutrition and her
children need clean water and immunizations. The same community that needs
infection control for TB also needs it for influenza; and insufficient
financial and human resources for health may prevent them from having any of
these rights fulfilled.”

# # #

Following is the initial group of health organizations supporting this
statement:

A la Alianza Nacional “Campaña por una Convención Interamericana de los Derechos Sexuales y Derechos Reproducitvos” – Bolivia
ABIA – Brazil
ACCSI – Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA, Venezuela, African Council for Sustainable
Health Development (ACOSHED) African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO) African CS Partnership for Health Systems Strengthening AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa AIDS and Society Research Unit, University of Cape Town Aids Fonds AIDS-Free World Alianza Nacional de Grupos
de Personas que viven con VIH o sida de Guatemala Alianza Nacional de Hombres
Gay, Trans y Hombres que Tienen Sexo Con Hombres (A-GTH) – Dominican Republic
Amigos Siempre Amigos (ASA) – Dominican Republic
Asian Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS Asociacion Nacional de Personas Positivas Vida Nueva – El Salvador Asociación Vida – Guatemala
Balance Promoción para el Desarrollo y Juventud – México
BRAC Caribbean Treatment Access Group Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir – México
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Central African Treatment Access Group
Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development (CHESTRAD)
Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Mujer – CIDEM.- Bolivia
Centro de Promoción y Defensa por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX) -Perú CNS Mujeres – Uruguay
Colectiva Mujer y Salud – Dominican Republic
Colectiva por el Derecho a Decidir – Costa Rica Colectivo Feminista Mujeres Universitarias.- Honduras
Colectivo TLGB de Bolivia Comunicación, Intercambio y Desarrollo Humano en América Latina A. C.-CIDHAL A.C.
Convergencia de Mujeres – Honduras
Cordaid
Corporación Chilena de Prevención del SIDA (ACCIONGAY) – Chile
East African Treatment Access Movement (EATAM) El Closet de Sor Juana, Mexico Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia A.C – Mexico
Family Care International
FEIM – Argentina
Foro de Mujeres y Políticas de Población – Mexico
Fórum de Ong Aids do Estado de São Paulo – Brazil Fundacion Arcoiris pro el Respeto a
la Diversidad Sexual – Mexico Fundación Buenos Aires SIDA – Argentina
Fundación Igualdad LGBT – Bolívia Fundación REDVIHDA – Bolívia GAPA-SP
GAPA/RS – Brazil GAPA/SP – Brazil GESTOS – Soropositivity, Communication and
Gender Issues – Brazil GRUPAJUS – Brazil Grupo De Antropologia Medica Critica
Universidad Nacional De Colombia Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida
(GIRE) – México Guyana Human Rights Association. – Guyana Health &
Development Networks (HDN) Health care is not for Commerce – LAC Health GAP
Hélène De Beir Foundation – Belgium Instituto para el Desarrollo Humano –
Bolivia International AIDS Society International Civil Society Support
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS – UK International
Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) INTILLA Asociacion Civil –
Argentina International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) ITPC India
ITPC Nepal ITPC RU – Eastern Europe/Central Asia Jovenes Feministas
Universitarias – Honduras La Coalicion Internacional de Activistas dn
Tratamientos (CIAT) – Latinoamérca La Red de Voluntarios de Amigos Siempre
Amigos (RevASA) – Dominican Republic Latin American and Caribbean Council of
NGO with AIDS Services (LACCASO) Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health
Network (LACWHN) LIGA Bonaerense de Diversidad Sexual – Argentina Liga
Colombiana de Lucha Contra el Sida – Colombia Mujer y Salud – MYSU – Uruguay
National AIDS Committee – Guyana Observatorio de Violencia Social y de Género
de la Sierra Norte de Puebla – Mexico Partners in Health Physicians for Human
Rights PLUS, International AIDS Coalition Positive Action for Treatment
Access (PATA) – Nigeria Red Argentina de Mujeres Red Argentina de Mujeres
Viviendo con VIH-SIDA (RAMVIHS) – Argentina Red Argentina de Personas
Positivas (REDAR POSITIVA) – Argentina Red Latinoamericana de Católicas por
el Derecho a Decidir.- Latin America Red por los Derechos Sexuales y
Reproductivos – México Redlac – Honduras RESULTS USA Senderos Asociacion
Mutual – Colombia SIDACTION STOP AIDS NOW!
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
West African Treatment Access Group
Women Won’t Wait – Latin America

Tagged with →  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please fill in the below * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.