Pretoria:The United States launched President George W. Bush’s global AIDS program by awarding multimillion-dollar grants to four U.S. – based institutions to treat those suffering from the deadly virus in three African nations.
One of the grants, a $107-million donation to Harvard’s School of Public Health, is the largest received by the school, easily surpassing a $25 million grant in 2000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in Nigeria.
The grants announced Monday total $350 million and are the first installments of Bush’s $15 billion, five-year plan to fight AIDS. The initiative aims to dramatically increase the number of poor people being treated on the life-extending antiretroviral medicines.
Now, anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa are being treated; the precise number is difficult to pin down, mirroring the trouble estimating how many are infected with HIV or have died from AIDS.
The Harvard plan aims in five years to roughly double the number of people being treated in sub-Saharan Africa. Its goal is to put an additional 75,000 people on antiretroviral drugs in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Botswana.
The other programs will be run by Catholic Relief Services, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and will focus on AIDS treatment and the prevention of the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Bush first announced the initiative in his State of the Union address more than a year ago.
Source: The Asahi Shimbun
Wednesday, February 25, 2004