Tag Archives: Huffington Post

Guest Blog: A Call For History Makers

Todays guest blog post is brought to you by Endalkachew Demmiss, author of ‘The Mystery of God’s will’.

In 2004, I was a bed-ridden multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patient and missed class for more than two years. Before 2008, the medications were not available in Ethiopia. During those days, patients like myself were isolated in small rooms, waiting for their death due to the lack of access to expensive of anti-tuberculosis drugs. That was my fate. Fortunately I was able to get the life-saving drugs miraculously from a charitable organization, like the programs now supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After two years of suffering from the drug’s side effects I got the opportunity to go back to school and pursue my career as a pharmacist and global health advocate.

Credit: Claire Moodie

Credit: Claire Moodie

Our world can be a safe place to her inhabitants, but only if we win the fight against epidemics, which have showed time and again throughout history to be one of the greatest threats to our global brothers and sisters. Epidemics like the black plague, smallpox, measles and today, AIDS, TB and malaria have dealt devastating impacts for human kind.

Can you imagine if there weren’t scientists, committed political leaders or health professionals standing in the gap during these challenging times? My existence would have been threatened without these heroes. They have given us tools through modern science, political will and effective partnerships like the Global Fund, to make staggering advances in global health in the short space of just over a decade.

In developing countries, HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria continue to kill at an alarming rate, more effectively than war. These major global health threats cause substantial morbidity, mortality, negative socioeconomic impact, and human suffering. Disease-specific interventions have had a considerable impact on improving health systems. However, we still need more resources, more research and attention from the global community to get tangible results on prevention, treatment and patient care. It’s time for the Big Push to defeat these diseases and we need champions and heroes now more than ever.

During the time of my fight against MDR-TB, we faced dramatic challenges, but now because of the effective interventions financed by the Global Fund and its partners, people can have a chance to get the medications freely. The Global Fund stands between life and death of millions and needs donors’ commitment for increased and sustained funding.

This is my call — from a poor nation to history makers — to be the generation who can change the course of history. Let’s march mercilessly against TB, HIV and malaria. In an age of vaccines, antibiotics and dramatic scientific progress, these diseases can be brought under control.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, The Global Fund, and its partners as part of The Big Push campaign. For more information on The Global Fund, click here. To read more posts about The Big Push — The Global Fund and its partners efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — click here.

Tackling TB and HIV/AIDS together is the only way to reach zero deaths!

This Saturday is World Aids Day, an annual recognition of the scale and impact of an epidemic which claims 1.7 million lives annually, last year there were 2.5 million new HIV infections recorded bringing the number of people living with HIV to 34 million globally. Today as global health activists build momentum behind this year’s World Aids Day, and HIV/Aids groups rightly warn the world’s leaders not to lose focus on the end of Aids, leading TB activists add an important footnote – we will never reach the end of Aids unless we also address TB.

An article in today’s Financial Times focussed on the Southern African TB-HIV and mining epidemic notes that of the three main diseases of poverty, TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, TB receives the least attention. The article highlights the recent decision by the board of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria to allocate just 16 per cent of annual funding to TB. In fact, according to Niya Chari in an excellent Huffington Post blog, TB investments have hit ‘an all-time low’. She states that the World Health Organisation has warned of a ‘$3 billion funding short-fall for global tuberculosis control’.

It is this funding gap as well as a lack of coherent policy which means, says Chari, just ’48 per cent of people living with HIV/Aids are actually being tested for TB’. This figure is particularly shocking given that it is a well-known fact that TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV. The Stop TB Partnership, in its World Aids Day message calls for a ‘one stop service’ for HIV and TB care, integrating TB-HIV at every stage of testing, treatment and care.

The UK Consortium on Aids and International Development TB-HIV Working Group sees such integration as imperative. In a policy brief released for World TB Day earlier this year, the Group calls on the UK government to ensure TB-HIV integration is central to its policy and programming. The UK Department for International Development is well aware of the need for integration of TB-HIV, as referenced in its position paper on HIV/Aids in the developing world published last year. In this World Aids Day statement DFID reiterates the need to look at TB prevention and diagnosis as part of an Aids response package.

Arguably, the US Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) goes even further in its ‘Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation’ released this week, on which the very first step on its road map is to ‘Target HIV-associated tuberculosis (TB) and reduce co-morbidity and mortality’.  Reflecting this commitment the agency’s funding for ‘TB/HIV collaborative activities increased more than 800% over the past five years’.

As the world is warned not to lose focus now on getting to zero deaths from HIV/AIDS, it is absolutely imperative that zero deaths applies for its co-epidemic, TB, a tragic, curable and often forgotten disease which will today claim the lives of 1000 people living with HIV.

Let’s not forget TB in the response to AIDS!

“The bottom line: by making sure tuberculosis doesn’t undermine AIDS treatment, we can save one million more lives by 2015.” – Joanne Carter, Executive director of RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) (Source: Huffington Post).

As we mark the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, we are able celebrate lifesaving scientific advances and commitment from world leaders in tackling HIV/AIDs. We have seen infection rates decline steadily and in some places dramatically. This is according to a US blog post from the Huffington Post.

However, the Huffington Post leaves out a key scientific blueprint for interventions that would save one million additional lives by 2015. TB remains the leading killer of people living with HIV, and unless we adequately address TB-HIV co-infection, TB will continue to undercut the inroads we’ve made against HIV/AIDS. Continue reading

Kolleen Bouchane on Contagion

Last weekend, a new film opened at the American Box Office: Contagion, a film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon, Gwynneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. It went straight to number one in the box office list.

In the movie there is a massive outbreak of a deadly disease that kills millions of people, and the film follows the destruction of people’s lives and the breakdown of society that occurs until a vaccine can be found.

While the film is not based on real events, we actually have a real-life contagion spreading right now with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). It’s not quite as rapid as the Hollywood version, but it’s just as relentless, and it’s not just limited to far away places.

ACTION Project Director Kolleen Bouchane has written an excellent article on Contagion and TB over on the Huffinton Post. We highly recommend you give it a read: drug resistant TB is deadly serious, although it has not yet reached “number one”, so building support to fight TB is more critical than ever.

Our March action from earlier this year is still relevant, so please take a few minutes to let our government know this issue matters to you.

RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris founds Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation

RESULTS’s founder Sam Daley-Harris has announced that he will launch a new project, the Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation, in 2012. The mission of the new organisation is to build on Sam’s experiences with RESULTS and share what he has learned with other organisations, helping them to empower ordinary citizens to take extraordinary action toward ending poverty, cleaning up the environment, building local economies or bringing peace to the world.

Sam says: “Just as there are people in the world who are hungry for food and desperate to get an education for themselves or their children, Americans are hungry to have more meaning in their lives — to live lives that truly matter. What if they went far beyond mouse-click advocacy and committed themselves to creating [anti-poverty] champions in Congress and the local media? Let’s empower people to make a difference. From I-can’t-fight-city-hall to I-am-city-hall.”

Sam has written a fascinating essay about the project in Monday Developments, which is published by InterAction, the alliance of  U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who focus on disaster relief and sustainable development around the world, and a recent article in the Huffington Post discusses the impact it could have.

Obama’s Visit: The Special Relationship That Can Save Lives

This week President Obama is visiting the UK on his first State visit. David Cameron and Barak Obama have much to discuss on this trip: one thing that is on the agenda is U.S. and UK funding for GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations. RESULTS UK has already begun work on ensuring GAVI is fully funded, and it’s not too late to help by taking action to build support for GAVI in European countries as well.

Continue reading

US proposes cuts that are insignificant to the budget but life-threatening for the poor

Yesterday RESULTS US’s executive director, Joanne Carter, had a great article published in the Huffington Post calling for a reversal of the US Congress’ ‘irrelevant and destructive’ cuts to global health programmes around the world. The US House of Representatives is stalling a vote on a bill that would drastically cut foreign aid, including a 40 per cent reduction in funding for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Like many countries around the world, the US is facing a deficit problem that Members of Congress are trying to address by slashing the US foreign aid portfolio. However, the amount the US spends on health, education and other aid programmes amounts to less than 1 per cent of their federal spending. Hence, any cuts to these programmes would make no significant difference to the US deficit but would have far-reaching consequences for the people benefitting from them. Continue reading