Fund faces $4B shortfall; AIDS deaths could rise

Posted on 23 Apr 2009 at 1:26pm
By Michael Casey Associated Press

BANGKOK — A global health fund said Monday, April 20 that it is facing a shortfall of as much as $5 billion that could rob the most vulnerable people of access to AIDS drugs and keep mosquito nets from children.

Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the U.N.-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said he was concerned that some rich nations may be considering cuts in overseas development in light of the global economic crisis.

But he said now was not the time to reduce spending on health in developing countries and that the money his agency is asking for is a drop in the bucket compared to the public funds for the financial sector.

"We are facing a challenge," Kazatchkine said in an interview after attending a Bangkok conference aimed at reducing the harmful effects of drug use.

Kazatchkine said donor funding for the period running from 2008 until 2010 stands at $9.5 billion, short of the $13.5 billion to $14.5 billion needed. Without the requested funding from donors, Kazatchkine warned that some of the youngest and sickest in the developing world would pay the price.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 24, 2009.

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