The Scandal of Poverty and Disease ; WORLD AIDS DAY
Brown, Gordon, The Independent (London, England)
Today, developing countries all over the world are benefiting from increasing trade and globalisa-tion. Last year Africa enjoyed its third consecutive year of growth over 5 per cent. The potential and promise of developing countries like those of the African continent is enormous. It is an inspirational spirit which must be nurtured to build a brighter future. But there are many challenges ahead, none more so than the impact of Aids.
Aids not only devastates families, it can devastate an entire economy because, unlike other diseases, Aids strikes at the pro- idencies ductive heart of the economy: its workforce. When workers become ill their productivity falls and they struggle to provide for their families. Communities can pull together to help each other, but when large numbers are afflicted, no one group can manage alone. The success of the whole economy will be damaged, exacerbating an already desperate situation for many.
Managing these pressures would be difficult for any of us. In Africa the effects are more acute, and undermine progress towards long-term development and the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UN has estimated that economic growth could fall by 1 per cent for every 10 per cent of HIV prevalence. In a country like Swaziland, with a 33 per cent Aids prevalence, this is the difference between one generation and the next still living in poverty.
The scandal of poverty and Aids is something the whole global community needs to work to resolve. The UK made it a priority under our G8 and EU pres-last year. And in September 2006, the UN agreed that we must provide universal access to Aids prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. Developing countries are now preparing national plans to try to achieve universal access by 2010. The UK has argued that no credible, sustainable country plan should go unfunded, and has already pledged [pound]1bn to Aids programmes in the three years to 2008. In Singapore, just a few months ago, we achieved debt write-off for 20 countries, and aid has already increased by around 25 per cent to more than $100bn. This is making a difference. Countries like Zambia and Malawi have been able to abolish rural healthcare fees.
Over the last three years there has been a tenfold increase in the numbers of people on antiretro-viral treatment in sub-Saharan Africa - to over one million men and women. But while much has been achieved, there is more we can, and must, do to avert the potentially awful consequences of the Aids pandemic. First, …
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Publication information: Article title: The Scandal of Poverty and Disease ; WORLD AIDS DAY. Contributors: Brown, Gordon - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 1, 2006. Page number: 65. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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