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June 16, 2008, 9:26 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

I keep hearing about this:

Even in Africa – where there is a serious and deadly Aids crisis in some countries – the international focus on Aids has been motivated more by pernicious moralism than straightforward charity. Diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are bigger killers than Aids. Yet focusing on Aids allows western governments and NGOs to lecture Africans about their morality and personal behaviour. It also adds a new gloss to the misanthropic population-control arguments of western charities, which now present their promotion of condoms in “overly fecund” Africa as a means of preventing the spread of disease.

Surely malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea treatments would be cheaper than AIDS drugs, right?  And given that in Africa more people die from these diseases, shouldn’t it be obvious that we should be throwing our resources behind these treatments?


4 Comments so far
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Actually there is significant money being spent on malaria treatments for African poor and tuberculosis treatment initiatives are actually subsumed in the AIDS program because the two diseases are often found together and are quite synergistic.

Diarrhea is a symptom, not a disease so I’m unsure how to respond to that point.

Neither one gets the press that AIDS does though.

Comment by jonolan

Depending on how you use the word, ‘diarrhea’ can refer to the symptom or to that which brings it about. I’m sure you realized that but were trying to be clever. Whatever.

I’d be interested to see some hard data on the funding for malaria and diarrhea treatments. Otherwise we’re just spreading rumors. Well, rumor has it that malaria and diarrhea treatments, which could save millions of lives, are underfunded because they aren’t sexy diseases.

Comment by the.pilgrim – $10.7 billion USD so far on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; that’s just one group. There are plenty of others as well.

I don’t know whether it’s underfunded or not, but it’s certainly not unfunded.

Comment by jonolan

On the AIDS front, I’ve noticed a number of celebrities (Bono, Matt Damon, etc.) say Bush has done far more than any other president, and that this may turn out to be his true legacy.

Comment by the.pilgrim

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